Byteful Travel Blog Carnival #21 – The Return!

When assembling this month’s blog carnival, I was shocked when I looked at the archives.

Can you believe that it’s been over a year since Byteful Travel has hosted a blog carnival?

My, my! Time flies!

Of course, in the intervening year has been filled with many other wonderful people hosting this blog carnival: Shanna of There and Back Again, EE over at NZ Muse, and most definitely Jim over at JimsGotWeb.

Each of them did a fantastic job when they hosted the carnival on their own blogs. Thank you! The door is certainly open if they want to host this carnival again. :)

A Galaxy of Gratitude

And, as always, a big thanks to everyone who took the time to submit their articles (and reach a wider audience in the process). This time, I couldn’t really narrow it down to the best three. Depending on your specific interests, all of the articles are worth a look (although, I must say I have a soft spot for the introspection contained within 2013: An honest critique to our own life.)

A Reminder & A Win-Win-Win

You knew this was coming.

If one of your articles is in this month’s edition, I would extend a galaxy of gratitude out to you for tweeting, stumbling, or “Liking” this carnival on Facebook! If you show some love for this carnival, it will love you back. 😉 (Vis a vis, spreading the word multiplies the reach of this blog carnival which in turn helps more people discover your article, as well.)

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for:

Travel Destinations

Mayan Story TabletSarah Haight presents:
Five Exclusive Holiday Resorts posted at The Luxe List, saying,

“The world is full of beautiful destinations and we wanted to highlight five resorts in destinations that are only a short visit from mainland Europe.

Pinch of Adventure presents:
Madeira Island: Where the Sea meets a Volcano posted at A Pinch of Adventure, saying,

“Memories from a trip to Madeira!

Sarah Haight presents:
Best Winter Sun Holiday Destinations 2013/14 posted at The Luxe List, saying,

“We offer some ideas for winter sun holiday destinations for travellers.

Mera Johnson presents:
What we did on Oahu posted at Travel By Mera.

Thailand Breeze presents:
Cozy Homestay In Kanchanaburi posted at Thailand Breeze.

Britanico presents:
Cuenca: Bounty, Beauty, Blood and Bureaucracy – Part I (Let’s Start at the very Beginning) posted at Man in the middle – La vida en Ecuador.

Sarah Haight presents:
Luxury Holiday ideas to escape Winter posted at The Luxe List.

Travel Photography

Zhu presents:
An Artsy Sunday in Montreal posted at Correr Es Mi Destino, saying,

“After that artsy morning, we headed to the Marché Jean Talon where we had great Mexican food—real Mexican food, not some Tex-Mex crap smothered in yellow cheese. My plato del día with beans, guacamole, rice, tortillas and pollo took me right back to Mexico. “Más Salsa Por Favor!”

Eulaivi Clutario presents:
Go Somewhere You’ve Never Been posted at IDEALISTICITY.

Travel Tips

Theresa Torres presents:
5 Tips for Traveling with Scuba Diving Gear posted at, saying,

“Follow these tips the next time you are traveling with your scuba diving gear and make it easier on yourself so you’ll arrive at your destination with your gear intact.

Travel Stories

Sheila A. Scarborough presents:
Amelia Earhart and making your dreams come true posted at Perceptive Travel Blog, saying,

“Amelia Earhart….fashion and luggage designer? That and more is what you’ll learn from a visit to the aviation pioneer’s birthplace museum in Atchison, Kansas.

Gita Claassen presents:
A bus ride out of this world posted at GITA CLAASSEN | Travel & Fine Art Photographer, saying,

“The story of an uncomfortable public transport experience.

Kathleen presents:
Working hard or… posted at Avery Adventures.

Gabriel presents:
How Cold Could It Possibly Get in the Tropics? posted at We Travel and Blog.

Pinch of Adventure presents:
2013: An honest critique to our own life posted at A Pinch of Adventure.

Are you ready to JOIN FORCES?

If you write well, write about travel, and you haven’t submitted to the BTBC before… What are you waiting for? Blog Carnivals are free and powerful way to get more exposure to your work! By doing so, you reach multitudes, many of which have never even seen your site before, so it’s a real win-win-win situation.

I know this from firsthand experience because blog carnivals were helpful in spreading the word about Byteful Travel. So if you’re a writer, and you’ve written something that relates to travel, go ahead and submit a piece you’re proud of to the next BTBC by going to the submission form. All I ask is that you read the common-sense ground rules. (It results in a much better carnival for everyone.)

If You’re A Long-Time Reader

Oh, and if you’re a long-time reader and are curious about the East Coast articles I talked about a while back, I’ve decided to put them on hold for now so I can focus on my Hawaii adventures. New 1080p HD videos are coming up soon, so stay tuned!

If you’re New here!

Welcome! Now that you’re here, why not check out an Epic Hawaiian crab race? Or my video of the time I went to the edge of the Kilauea Lava Lake? (Yes, it IS a literal lake of literal lava!)

Thanks to my brand new HD gear, there’s lots more videos (this time in 1080p HD) coming up in the next few weeks, so be sure to bookmark this page or follow me on the Twitter.

See you star-side! 😉

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How to Miss Out on Tons of Blog Revenue (aka. Admitting my Mistakes)

If I have any regrets about how I’ve grown this site over the years, it would be that I haven’t shared enough of my mistakes (and downright failures) with you all.

It’s not that I haven’t done it on here before, but I haven’t done it as much as I’d like. Of course, I had my reasons. (Everyone has their reasons.) For one thing, I wanted to keep this site a purely inspiring, uplifting place. What I had overlooked (and have since embraced more and more) is that inspiration, and indeed joy and laughter, can also come from sharing our mistakes. Especially publicly.

So it is with a strange mixture of embarrassment and delight that I share with you a huge mistake that I’ve made here regarding growing this website as a business. A mistake that has been downright chronic.

The Mistake

About 95% of all of the links to products I’ve recommended were formatted wrong. This has huge ramifications.

If you’re not already aware, often when writers recommend a product they like, they use an “affiliate link” when they recommend it. This is a win/win/win situation, because if the reader ends up buying something, the affiliate link tells the commerce site who referred them. The commerce site will often then give the writer a little slice of the profits.

This does some cool things.

  1. It gives readers an easy way to support blogs they love by using an affiliate link. (The price is the same with or without the link. And if it’s a blog they love, it’s likely they were going to buy the product eventually, anyway.)
  2. It gives writers an incentive to create lists of products that have positively affected them, thereby driving traffic to the site selling the product. This also encourages writers to make easy links to buy the products instead of being afraid that off-site links will drive too many eyeballs away from their site.
  3. On a decent-sized blog, it can provided much-needed supplemental income for writers who might not even have health insurance. (Just sayin’.)

The practical upshot to all of this is that I am a Capital-G goon.

There, I said it. I’m a Goon, or at least I was for not double-checking my research. I won’t bore you with hyperlink semantics, but let’s just say that, when linking to an Amazon product, do not just throw /yourname-20/ into any old place in the link. (You’ve gotta add ?tag=yourname-20 to the link.) But noooo; I thought I was smart. I thought I’d make a short, pretty link. Pretty useless, more like.

I’ll stop. I said I wasn’t going to bore you with semantics.

Here’s the short version: because I went ahead and trusted some frakking inaccurate site roughly four years ago, about 95% of the affiliate links on Byteful Travel were half-broken and haven’t given me credit at all for recommending products that have truly changed my life, such as the book Getting Things Done, The Master Cleanse, Personal Development for Smart People, or even my own book.

The Upshot

Because I didn’t double-check my research, I missed out on a sizable amount of revenue from this site over the last four years. Revenue that goes to support future journeys and better equipment (not to mention little things like food).

To be completely clear, I’m not complaining about this. I really have no idea how much revenue I missed out on, and I’m honestly not attached to the notional idea of the past. I’ve corrected all of the links now, and I’m simply offering this as a cautionary tale.

“It all makes sense now!” I thought. “No wonder the statistics have been so bad. My links just don’t give me any credit!”

Short version

Always double-check your research, and for the love of ‘zon make sure you format your affiliate links correctly. If I’m doing this, I can’t imagine how many other people may be formatting theirs wrong. Who knows how much extra revenue this small correction might bring in!

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