Willie Nelson had a huge hit with “On the Road Again” back in 1980. It was in the soundtrack of the movie Honeysuckle Rose and won the country music legend a Grammy.
“On the road again; Just can’t wait to get on the road again”
I love the tune, and maybe it fits the life of a touring musician, but for bloggers, sometimes life on the road isn’t all that rosy. Even at best, in many travel situations, Internet connections can be sporadic. But with these six tips, road warriors can keep their blogs alive and well through even the worst of conditions.
1. Schedule Ahead
Okay, I admit that most—if not all—of you probably could have thought of this one on your own. Most blogging platforms allow you to write ahead of time, and schedule days for your posts to be published. However, let me suggest that you give some thought to your scheduled content and help you make working ahead of time a little easier.
If you’re like many writers, occasionally you come up with an idea seemingly out of the blue. It may be a little off the wall ordoesn’t directly relate to the current thread you’re working. In other words it might be somewhat “timeless.” Store a few of these away for a rainy day or when you’re on the road and burdened with intermittent Internet access or hampered in your ability to write.
Pretend you’re a major corporation and “downsize” your blog for the time when you’re traveling. Don’t worry about fully developing ideas. Give your readers a “taste” of some topics and ideas that you find interesting. Encourage reader comments. Pick these topics up again when you’re back at your home base and explore them more fully.
If you have developed a good relationship with your audience, keep an eye out for “photo worthy” subjects while you’re on the road, and post more graphics than you might normally post. Be especially clever in your captions.
3. Blog Via Email
Many blogging platforms allow writers to post via email. However, since so many of us are at our computers just about 24-7, we don’t take advantage of this feature. Make sure you test it out before you’re all packed up and out the door. Be certain you understand how your blogging platform is going to format your emails when they’re published. You don’t want them to look odd compared to your normal posts. If you’re posting emails from your smartphone, it’s very convenient to be using an email app that allows you to save drafts.
4. Use a Mobile Client
WordPress and other blogging platforms support posts from mobile clients so you can publish from your smartphone or tablet. There are iOS, Android, Nokia and BlackBerry apps that allow bloggers to post to WordPress.
These apps offer a lot of advantages compared to posting via email. Features such as saving drafts, inserting photos and managing comments are generally included. And, if you’re on the road and want your travel to be a feature in your posts, some mobile clients will share your location when you post.
5. Enjoy a Latte
Find all the Internet cafes along your travel route. These may also prove to be excellent places to meet some locals and get a fresh perspective about the subjects you blog on. Here’s where your travel can really deliver benefits in the future. Go out of your way to discuss your blog, or at least the subjects that interest you, with folks you meet on the road. New ideas and varied opinions can be invaluable for a blogger who really wants to keep things fresh. Mine your travel locations as deeply as possible. Make sure you write good notes for yourself and keep track of ideas you’ll want to explore in depth later on.
6. Know the Hotspots
If you’re traveling for pleasure, you’ll want to know two different kinds of hotspots. You’ll want to know the best places to party and unwind and you’ll also want to know the free wi-fi hotspot locations. Fellow travelers, or even the hotel concierge, may be the best sources for the first category of hotspots, but for the second one you should do some Google searches before heading out of town to give yourself a general idea of where you can easily connect to the Internet
You can also check with your ISP and cellphone providers to find places where they provide free wi-fi access. If you think you might be relying on cellphone Internet connectivity, see if your current rate plan will give you the capacity you need. You might want to buy more bandwidth for a month.
With these tips you can enjoy your time away from your desk, keep your blog chugging along uninterrupted, and like Willie Nelson, you may find that you “just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
Chris Turberville-Tully is a marketing strategist for Newnet, leased lines providers offering connectivity anywhere in the UK, as well as internationally. They also provide business-class services.