An interesting blog I came across was one created by Matthew Kepnes, a 36-year-old travel connoisseur, best-selling author and blogger originally from Boston. His website, titled Nomadic Matt, is home to numerous blog posts, travel tips, and resources. Coinciding with the rest of the site, the blog posts focus on personal experiences with a nomadic lifestyle, different adventures and tips from himself and others, and all things concerning travel. As an aspiring world traveler, his blog provides a great starting point to travel smart and encourages you to set your sights high.
Analysis: Content and Audience Interaction
As a whole, the blog is very aesthetically pleasing to read. His layout is clear and easy for users to navigate. The menu is well organized and though it provides numerous links to other areas of the site, is not overwhelming. The design is fun but clean, keeping it interesting enough to attract viewers and readers, but not so much as to distract them from obtaining the desired information.
The title of the page and subsequent posts are simple but captivating to grab the attention of visitors to the site. There are search bars in the header and footer of the page, making it easy to find your way back to what you are looking for if you get stuck. Moreover, in the footer there are links to all of his social media profiles, as well as links to his about me, community, media, and travel pages. His about me page is straightforward, separated into subheaders about who he is, what he does, and how he got there. As he highlights in his about page, everything posted is authentic, with no sponsored content or paid for trips, therefore, all pictures and recommendations of places have been personally taken or visited by Matt himself, or a guest columnist. The high quality personal pictures create a more human connection between Matt and the readers of his blog, explaining the large loyal following he has amassed over the years.
At no surprise, the majority of the blog content regards travel. Matt’s personal travels, helping others fulfill their travel dreams by traveling cheaply, travel tips and wisdom, and experiences he and others have had along the way. His three most popular posts highlight his mission first explained in his about page. The posts explain why he lives the lifestyle he does, how others can travel in a cost efficient way, and why he does what he does and encourages other to try it too.
As mentioned earlier, what makes Matt’s site so unique is that none of the content is sponsored. All of the awe-inspiring pictures and videos are taking by Matt himself, or guest contributors. I found this to be an area Matt does extremely well. Although he holds contests and other things to promote fan interaction, it is impossible to hear from each person individually. Having such personal pictures really demonstrate Matt’s desire to have a real connection with readers. Rather than becoming a mass business, he continues to provide raw real content that many people appreciate.
In addition to his blog page, Matt also includes a page about getting started, travel guides, and resources. This is another area where Matt is extremely successful. He not only inspires readers with is posts and images, but he helps to empower them to begin adventures for themselves. He provides all the necessary information for those who don’t know where to begin and tips on how to “travel. better. cheaper. longer”.
He encourages audience interaction, being the support they need to go out on their own adventures. Moreover, he holds contests to highlight and take time to appreciate members of his audience and the amazing things they themselves have been able to achieve. Readers are also pretty active in the comments section of his posts. The number of comments typically range from as few as 10 to as many as 60, with Matt himself responding personally to some. To further encourage interaction, there are links to his social media pages on a floating side bar and at the bottom of every page.
Overall, I found the blog to be very successful. It is not only easy to view content, but it is extremely user friendly as the site is clear and easy to navigate. There are links to other areas of the site with related interesting information and everything is simply categorized. He has significant interaction with his audience, encouraging them to go out and live their best lives. An area the blog could improve is providing readers with more personal content about Matt himself. While he did so in the early stages, he now focuses more on other people’s adventures. Although this is compelling content, Matt needs to maintain the close personal connection that garnered him such a large following in the first place. He needs to make sure he doesn’t forget where he came from, even after 8 years.