Back in June, I released my annual reader survey—with a twist. To elicit more responses, I offered a free round-trip economy ticket. Boy, did I underestimate the number of people who would respond as a result! I figured that since the survey was long and required open-ended answers, not many people would complete it, but over 5,500 of you did! (That’s a lot more than the normal 500 or so who typically answer!)
And the survey responses were better than I could’ve hoped for! Your feedback was tremendously helpful in terms of seeing what kind of content you want, what you think of the site’s navigation, and what information you feel might be missing.
I must admit that over the last year or so, I’ve been fiddling with the website a lot—from the layout, to products, to content offered, to presentation. The site still maintains the guiding principle of helping you travel cheaper, better, and longer, but a lot of changes have taken place.
I received a lot of good ideas from reading your survey responses, and they cemented in my mind many changes I had planned. So let me share with you some of the new things happening here:
One of the things I aim to do is to make this site less about me and more about you. I’ve added a forum, organized more community meet-ups and contests, and begun highlighting a lot more reader stories.
I plan to keep doing more of all those things and featuring you all more. If you have suggestions for community events you’d like to see, let me know!
One thing I never seem to suffer from is writer’s block. I always have a ton of article ideas thanks to the fact I’m just about always on the road, but reading your survey responses gave me even more topics I might have overlooked. Expect upcoming articles to deal with:
- Canadian travel hacking tips
- Safety on the road
- Itinerary planning
- Sustainable tourism
- Destination cost breakdowns
- More food posts
- More personal stories
And after reading your long, long list of suggested content, I’ve decided to bring in some regular writers to the site. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but after seeing your feedback, I’ve decided now is the right time. The site has grown so much that there are things I just can’t address with authority. So I’d like to introduce you to our new regular contributors:
Female travel – Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse will be writing a monthly column on women’s travel. She’s been a blogger for many years, and her adventures have taken her to the Maldives, Nepal, around Europe, Southeast Asia, and a hitchhiking trip across China.
Technology – David Dean from the technology website Too Many Adapters will be giving you tips and advice on travel gear and technology, so you can stay connected and updated on the road. He’ll be doing a lot of product reviews to help you decide what’s worth packing for your trip. Dave’s advice has been featured on Lifehacker before.
Family travel – Cameron Wears from the website Traveling Canucks. He and his wife, Nicole, travel the world with their two little kids. They are two of my favorite family travel bloggers, and they’re going to share the secrets to traveling with a family on a budget. They’ve been featured in The Huffington Post, National Geographic, The Vancouver Sun, Lonely Planet, and more.
They’ll each be publishing a monthly column on the site starting in September! Dave will be writing on the first Tuesday of the month, Kristin on the second Wednesday, and Cameron on the third Friday.
This is a huge change. While I’ve had guest posts in the past, I’ve never had regular columnists, and I’m looking forward to having them involved with the site. In addition to writing and responding to comments, they’ll also be active helping people out in the forums!
The fundamental design of this website will remain the same, but you may have already noticed a few changes I’ve made to make it easier to find content (because there’s a lot of it!).
- Better mobile design – The site is now more responsive and easier to navigate on your phone or tablet. I’ve fixed a lot of bugs, but there are still more changes on the way.
- Larger search bar – For easier searching!
- Better internal linking – If you scroll to the bottom of a blog post, you’ll notice a little pop up appears on your right with supplementary links to the site. That’s so you can more quickly navigate to related posts. Moreover, the “getting started” page has been redesigned, and the site itself has more internal links to help you get the cornerstone tips on the site. You’re never more than a click away from finding what you need!
- New footer – I changed that boring old footer to the new one you currently see to provide more links to relevant sections of the website.
I’ll still be writing most of the content on the site, and the type of content I’ll be providing will stay the same—it’s still all about showing you how to travel more. The reason behind the site’s existence won’t change—just some of what we do and how we do it.
So thank you for all the great feedback. I’ve heard you loud and clear, and I’ll be making changes so that this site is easier to navigate, the content is more relevant, and the focus on community increases.