#TBEX and the Naive Travel Blogger

I have a secret.

A secret, you ask? What could it be? Is it juicy?

I am afraid its not too juicy………Before this weekend I didn’t know what SEO was.

Shock, Gasp, Eye Roll. (Assuming you know what SEO is and if not, lets be friends!)

This past weekend I was lucky enough (and lived close enough) to go to the annual TBEX conference.  TBEX stands for Travel Blog Exchange and from what I gathered on Twitter it is THE place for travel bloggers to learn, network, and drink their faces off.

Although I didn’t drink my face off (I am a mom after all and 10pm is accompanied by yawning and fluffy pajamas) I did learn a lot.  Like a whole lot.

For one, I now know what SEO is. Search Engine Optimization.  Basically when bloggers write their content they try to insert key phrases into their posts so that when you look up “I heard food poisoning makes you lose weight, what can I do to get it?” you will be brought to my blog.  Seriously, you will.  Go ahead and try it.

I also learned about Black  Hat SEO.  Can you believe that sneaky bloggers will change their font to the same color as the background so you can’t see it and then write a whole bunch of phrases to get your Google search?  Appalling! Who are these people?  And by the way, the TBEX peeps say Google will catch you if you do this, do not try it at home!

I found out that many of the travel bloggers I love aren’t actually making much money doing it.  And those that are managing to make a living treat blogging as a full time job.  As in holed up in a room somewhere tapping their electronic devises instead of out enjoying the scenery.  Sigh. My dreams are dashed!

I discovered there is a whole world out there of websites and tools that I never knew existed. Su.pr, Klout, Buzzfeed.  Who knew?  I was so pleased with myself when someone said Bit.ly and I actually knew what they were talking about!

Facebook and Twitter are all the rage.  Score one point for me, I do know what those are.  And while I knew how important they are to a successful blog, I never knew just how important.  (So….go ahead and click the Facebook and Twitter icons up at the top there OK?)

TBEX made my head hurt.  By the end of each day I was literally exhausted from thinking so much!  But now this newbie blogger is armed with more of the most powerful tool in the world.  Knowledge.

I am more aware then ever before that community is the most important thing for a blogger and that as in all things, karma extends to the blogging world.

“When the tide comes in, all ships rise.”

And I am so very pleased to belong to the family travel blogging community.  I have virtually met so many amazing families this year.  Families who love to collaborate and help each other, whether it be by promoting each others work or by answering each others questions.  I have found a community in which I belong and find such comfort in their support.

If information had weight then I learned a ton this weekend.  My blogging prowess is about to be unleashed upon the world! So thank you TBEX for an amazing weekend from a naive travel blogger.

And because I also learned that posts generally suck without pictures, here are a few goodies from our trip to Vancouver…..

Capilano Suspention Bridge

Tree Walk

Downtown Vancouver, taken from a horse drawn carriage tour.

Totem Pole at Stanley Park

Even the statues had Canuck fever!

View from the apartment of Mike’s rad cousin.

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  1. Ted Nelson says:

    Yes twitter is amazing. I just found this post off the TBEX hashtag and now I am following you, and I retweeted your post. I can tell you learned a lot at TBEX. Thanks for sharing as I could not make it this year, so it is helpful to read these recaps.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Thanks Ted! Twitter is a beast unto its own, and one that I love. It literally took me three months to figure out just what the heck it was for but now that I understand it I am a twitter-holic! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. marinavillatoro says:

    I’ve been doing this for 3 years and never heard of Black Hat SEO, you see you learn something new everyday. I wish I could’ve gone!

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      It’s probably good you haven’t heard of it, that means you are not into the sneaky side of blogging!

  3. Julianne Reiser says:

    Great info! I for one had no idea about SEO. While I don’t really consider myself a Travel Blogger per se, I just blog about things I do with my kids in Los Angeles, I do follow a lot of travel bloggers, so now I know their secret too;) I wish I could have gone to TBEX it sounds very interesting. Next year!


    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Well I am glad to know I am not the only one! It makes me feel a lot better, thanks Julianne!

  4. Justin says:

    Ahhhh, so that is what SEO stands for! I won’t even tell you what I thought it meant.

    Vancouver look cloudy and fantastic as always. TBEX next year – We will go in knowing our SEO and we will tweet all about it.

    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Ah Justin, you are so awesome!

  5. famhud says:

    Dear Amy

    … and I was already wondering what you were talking about when you asked me to twit, fb and what ever else in your last email…

    I am very old school. I love writing, I love travelling, I love being close to people and I love nature and animals, I love my family and I love spending less and less time on the computer. I still read thick, dusty books that I pick up second hand from other travellers. I love our blog because it helps to share what we have to say, but I am always glad when I have a fast internet connection somewhere and when uploading the stories and photos goes fast so I can go back outside. I actually think a lot about the sense and use of blogs/facebook etc. I do see a lot of positive sides, too. A lot! But only recently I said to a friend of mine “how comes there are so many blogging travelling families, but in all of our years on the roads we have met so few of them?” And when we ran the hotel in China, I was often puzzled and a bit sad to see that where a few years ago travellers would have sat together to chat, now, they mostly sat on their own in front of a computer screen. I suppose I am getting older and more old-fashioned.

    Since you wrote about the weekly update you have to give for your children’s homeschool, I think a lot more about what our boys learn every week and I want to thank you for that as I realized just how much they have learnt. So, I am totally grateful to you for blogging, for updating your blog and sharing all this wonderful information.

    Thank you Amy, and I am happy that you found a community in which you feel good and a kind of belonging.


    1. worldschooladventures says:

      Dear Nadine, I do find myself sitting in front of my computer way too much! But I do enjoy the social networking and I have met so many travelers through it that I would otherwise not have met. There are so many amazing families out there! But yes, there needs to be a balance with the screen time and for some people that balance is hard to find.

      I am so glad that my post on my weekly homeschooling reporting helped you examine how much your boys learn! It really did the same with me also. There is so much going on if we just take the time to notice. Thank you, as always Nadine, for your insightful comment.

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