BE-LAVIE: THE JOURNEY & USEFUL TIPS ON STARTING A BLOG
I’ve read blogs for many years, I’m talking way back when blogs were not heard of so much and many people never understood their point or purpose. However, I always found them real, intentional and actual experiences that I could relate to and inspired me to experience a product, a destination or a restaurant. It was no surprise then that one day I decided on starting a blog and exchange writing scientific publications for blog articles.
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How It All Began
Taking a few moments of rest at a secret lagoon, on a hike along the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica back in early 2017, I knew it was time to start the blog. The chronicles I’d been mentally storing for the past couple of years, when I’d read about the trials and tribulations of some of my favourite bloggers. It was easy to envisage starting a Blog in such an idyllic setting with inspiration all around me but the minute we got home I knew that the hard work was about to begin.
I started Be-lavie to share my travels and foodie jaunts around the world as friends and family always wanted to replicate my itineraries. I’m quite an adventurous traveller and love to immerse myself into slightly ‘out of my comfort zone’ kind of experiences. A bit like the time we took off and spent almost two months on an around the world trip.
I also needed a creative outlet due to a stressful career in clinical research so Costa Rica, friends and family requests coupled with a change from my 9 to 5, I decided 2017 was the year of the blog.
But boy it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park…
What’s In The Name?
Choosing a blog name was not so difficult for me as the majority of my friends and family call me Be and I was reluctant to have a name that would tie me to one particular niche so opted for two further words, la vie, which in French means life. I’ve always loved the sound of the French language!
Be-lavie – ‘the life of Be’ but sounds way more beautiful in French right? Non?
After buying the domain name, researching a host, securing the social media handles and required plugins and security options required for the website it was time to get to know how it all works. After a good few weeks of researching and quite a steep learning curve, the penny finally decided to drop!
I wanted a simple clean logo which resembled a passport stamp but not so obvious incase I may change niches, so had one made by a small start-up graphic designer on FIVERR
Next came the tagline, which would sum up my blog niches perfectly…
‘Travel, Lifestyle & Sustainability with Sprinkles of Luxury‘
Lets face it, I had a real income and I’d had enough of my backpacker days so for me luxury meant just spending a little more upgrading and having actual luxe items like a great remote location, fine local foods, a rain shower and a very comfy bed. I wanted to incorporate my love for choosing responsibly and sustainably with authentic experiences so combining all this I concocted the above tag line!
Although this tag line is used in much of my branding, I have incorporated ‘Be-lavie – Travel & Eco-living’ in much of my social media as it’s more succinct to what the brant stands for.
I chose a light blue as my primary colour, to invoke tranquility with dark grey for fonts and then complimenting intermediate hues for shade fillers and the like to create a mood board which included font styles and icons. My vision was to create a cohesive aesthetic for my brand, which would stand out and attract a certain audience who were inspired by my content.
Travel was always going to play a big part in Be-lavie, therefore I shared my ethos of adventure with my audience via a quote I live by. This is the reason I travel intentionally, to educate myself and learn something new by experiencing the destination like a local.
Writing Blog Articles
The biggest learning curve had to be intentionally writing blog posts, selecting keywords and adopting an SEO strategy that works. I hadn’t quite envisaged that writing a blog post is not just about the writing but in convincing Google that you are an expert in your area! Definitely a work in progress but so rewarding.
With the ever-changing social media platforms, it is imperative to keep abreast of changes and current trends and to grow a meaningful community that engages in content and a place to advertise and build up confidence and consistency for be-lavie. An on-going process!
Although to date Pinterest (search engine rather than social media) has been the biggest driver of traffic to Be-lavie, at around 60%. It’s also great if you like being creative and producing beautiful imagery that lasts a lifetime on the platform.
1 July 2017
Be-lavie was officially launched and the real hard work started!
Accolades & Opportunities
Since launching, I have been shortlisted for a few accolades including the UK Blog Awards, Post Office Food & Drink Travel Blogger as well as winning the Pinterest UK Best Story Pin for my educational efforts in sustainable travel and eco-tourism.
I am now a Pinterest Creator and part of their inspiring community. As well as writing and researching for Be-lavie, I contribute regularly to Whistle Magazine, ROL Cruises and numerous publications plus making regular appearances on BBC Radio Leicester, chatting about sustainability and travel trends. I’d have never have envisaged starting a blog would lead to some fantastic opportunities and collaborations.
Be-lavie has given me the opportunity to collaborate with some fantastic brands, including Belmond Hotels, Qatar Airways, Hyatt hotels, and Six Senses to name a few and to meet my all time travel adventure hero, Simon Reeve! He even asked if I’d go to Japan for a show with him, we have a mutual yearning to visit the country!
One of my stand-out moments was when I met Chef Cyrus Todiwala and we discussed eco-friendly practices in the restaurant and fisheries industry, in his kitchen. He introduced me to a couple of apps where I could keep an eye on sustainable methods!
Currently, I am working freelancing in digital content creation which incorporates my love for responsible travel, writing, social responsibility projects, photography as well as sourcing eco-friendly initiatives. A lot of the work I secure is through this site and word of mouth. The rest of my time is spent providing advice on a consultancy basis in clinical research, namely oncology.
My once side-hustle and creative outlet has now become a monetised dream for which I will always be grateful for the lessons I learnt early on and discovering I needed to focus on the business side of things as a priority is something I will always be proud of.
A Few Tips For Starting A Blog
A few tips if you’re planning to turn a blog that started out as a hobby into a small business…