Guidelines for Content Creators

In central Asia, the term “stan” means “place abounding in”… Welcome to Bloggerstan, the place abounding in travel Bloggers, Vloggers and Podcasters! 
Here, you can post short “listings” of your existing content pieces about the locations (places) you’ve been to or where you live. A listing includes a single image and basic information about your blog, vlog or podcast.
Aspiring travelers search for locations to find content specific to that place… including your stuff. Each listing includes a link back to the original material on your site or channel.
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Content about destinations? Bloggerstan is for you

Content on Bloggerstan is about geographic locations. But not endless hotel or restaurant reviews. And not travel content on non-destination topics, such as how to find a cheap flight. Your content can be about things to do, culture, costs, getting around… everything a traveler needs to know to have an enjoyable and safe experience. All made so much better by your personal stories and fair-minded opinions.
You don’t have to be a travel content specialist. Your site or channel could be about surfing, with content about gear, techniques and competitions. But the content posted to Bloggerstan would be about the beaches where you find the waves: Siargao, Waimea, Puerto Malabrigo or (gulp!) Nazaré. 
Your content piece doesn’t have to be about a specific place. A “Focus = Region-State-Province” could discuss surfing in Hawaii as a whole.
There’s no limit on the number of listings you can post on Bloggerstan. And every one of them will pull travelers to your site or channel at no cost to you.

What to List

You can list any of your content about a place… if it will be of value to travelers. You can get an indication of what’s valuable by looking at the filters list below. But it’s not very granular, so don’t let it limit you.

If you have a lot of content pieces, you might ask yourself which pieces to list. Or what to list first. For the best visibility:

  • Recently published material — Since listings are presented in the order of publication, most recent on top. Listing newer content on busy locations is like getting to page one on Google. That doesn’t mean your epic post from 2011 isn’t a classic!
  • Unique topics — Maybe you cover a topic nobody else does. Check the location on Bloggerstan and see what topic filters are not listed. If a filter is not listed, there’s no content about that topic at that location. If the filter is present, apply it and see how many other listings cover it.
  • The path less traveled — Your content might be the only content for a place… or at least you’ll have less competition.

How to Create a Listing

Go to the Add Listing page. 

  • Fields with an asterisk (*) are mandatory.
  • You can’t save your new listing if mandatory fields are unfilled or not filled correctly.
  • A partly completed listing is saved until you come back to it.
You can edit or delete any of your listings whenever you like.

The title of your content piece exactly as it appears on your site or channel. Don’t confuse travelers by changing it... unless your title is so long it truncates.

The space allows for about the same number of characters / pixels as a Google search result. If your title is longer than about 60 characters, it will truncate in your listing. Fewer characters may also truncate if a long word wraps to the second row, wasting space. You can try hyphenating the long word.

Have a look at your completed listing. If it's truncated, it's okay to make the title shorter than your original if the same meaning is present.

Start typing... After 4 letters, a drop-down list will offer choices from the database. The list throws out options fast and some suggestions might seem way off. We recommend ignoring the drop-down list unless the exact place is offered.

Location can be as big as an entire Country or as specific as a well-known Feature.

  • If your location matches one in the database, the Country, Region-State-Province and City-Town-Feature fields (below) will fill in automatically.
  • If your place name does not show up at all, it might be spelled differently in the database. Try another spelling or search for the place in your browser to see if optional spellings exist.
  • Old names generally work: if you type in “Calcutta”, the database will offer “Kolkata”.

If Country is not filled-in already, choose from the drop-down list.

The political division(s) between Country and City.

  • The field may fill in automatically, depending on what you entered in Location (above). But you have the option to fill it in manually.
  • The field is mandatory, even if your Focus = Entire Country. It doesn't matter which Region you choose, but it's good to go with a region mentioned in your content.
  • Region-State-Province is sometimes fuzzy. Most reliable are the political divisions. The state of "New Hampshire" will certainly appear, but so might the informal "region" of "New England". 
  • You may have to look up the political division. Did you know that city of Rome is in the province of Rome?
  • Fuzziness continues with political divisions. Many countries have more than one political level between national (Country) and municipal (City). Rome is in the province of "Rome" and the region of "Lazio". Both "Rome" and "Lazio" will work in this field.

The smallest geographical area you can choose.

  • The field may fill in automatically, based on what you entered in Location (above). You have the option to fill it in manually.
  • If your content covers are very specific place, you can try it. Example: Colosseum, Rome.
  • Almost all Cities and Towns exist in the database. If you get an error, try a different spelling.
  • Features may or may not appear in the database. Famous? Likely. Not so famous? Maybe.

Optional.

  • Click the button to reposition the icon to the exact location listed above.
  • Or grab the icon and drag it into position.
  • Zoom in to place the icon on a precise location,  such as a street address.
  • Zoom out when your listing is “Country” focus. The icon will appear in the geographic center of the country (which could be the middle of nowhere). You might want to drag the icon on to a location discussed in your content.

Optional.

If you live at or within the geography of your content Focus (Country, Region, City), travelers will be alerted in the listing that you offer special local knowledge.

For example, if you live in Perth, Australia, you’re likely to know a lot about Perth. But how much about the vast state of Western Australia? Or all of Australia? Be honest about your knowledge.

Your choice of an image highlighting the location. 

  • The easiest solution is to use the same image as on your original content. When a traveler goes to your site or channel, both the title and the image will be as expected. (Some podcasters might have to dig deep.)
  • Include text or graphics on the image? Bloggers should avoid them, as it looks like cheesy self-promotion or click bait. Vloggers go ahead, since you almost always have a combined thumbnail and title on YouTube. 
  • For the best presentation, crop your image to 3:2 aspect ratio (a common image size). If not, part of your image will be cropped to 3:2 automatically and may look bad.
  • File size is limited to 100 kb, big enough to look good and small enough to load fast. If you resize your image to 500px X 332px, it will not only fit perfectly, but will easily go under 100kb.

Is your content a Blog, a Vlog or a Podcast?

Travelers can filter a page of search results by Type.

Optional. Blogs only. How many words in your blog post?

Optional. How long is your vlog or podcast? Round to the nearest whole minute count. Never mind the seconds.

When was the content published or refreshed?

Only the month and year will show in your listing.

There are 3 types of filters:

  1. Focus — Default = all. But if your content is about and Entire Country, a Region-State-Province or a City-Town-Feature, you can help users filter for wider geographic focus.
  2. Topics — What is your content about? These are broad categories. You can get more specific in the Details and More fields (below).
  3. Traveler Type — Default = all. But you may address the needs of a specific sub-group of travelers, such as Solo Women, LBGTQ+, Older, Family and more.

Choose at least one from the drop-down list.

  • Select all the filters that apply. There’s limited display space for filters and details. If you select too many, not all will be visible in the listing.
  • Don’t claim a filter for something you don’t cover well: travelers won’t appreciate a filter for “Cultural pleasures” when all you’ve got to say is, “The town is famous for its museums.” Provide value on every filter topic you choose.

Optional.

Put any tag you want in here to provide sharper focus on your content. Again, space is limited, so don’t overdo it. Details are not searchable.

Optional.

This text box gives you limited space to say whatever you want about your content. Make it a strong pitch for travelers to click “GO”.

Do not put links in the text box.

The all-important link behind the “GO” button, taking travelers to your original material. 

  • Use the full URL, starting with https://
  • If you redirect the URL on your site or channel, change it here too. Publishers of broken links get one warning email. If the link remains broken, we remove the listing.
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GETTING "FILTERS" RIGHT

Filters are super important because travelers use them to drill down a big stack of listings to find your content. Avoid the temptation to cram every possible filter into your listing. Travelers will get annoyed if you don’t deliver sufficient quantity or quality on a filter. If you list too many, the last ones may not appear in the listing.

In your listing, filters appear in alphabetical order. (Our software does not yet permit manual sorting in order of importance.)

Big Topic categories! Filters like “Cultural Pleasures” and “Active Pursuits” contain a myriad of things to do. Cultural Pleasures includes live music, theater, museums, galleries and much more. Active Pursuits includes everything from hiking to swimming to paragliding to… anything active. We will monitor how often specific Details appear in the listings… some may get promoted to Topics.

Current Focus & Topics filters, as found in the drop-down list when adding or editing a listing:

  • Entire Country
  • Region-State-Province
  • City-Town-Feature
  • When to visit
  • How to get there
  • Sites & Attractions
  • Suggested itinerary
  • Health & Safety
  • Language
  • Thrifty $
  • Midrange $$
  • Luxury $$$
  • Long distance transport
  • Local transport
  • Accommodation $
  • Accommodation $$
  • Accommodation $$$
  • Food & Drink $
  • Food & Drink $$
  • Food & Drink $$$
  • Bars
  • Sightseeing
  • Cultural pleasures
  • Active pursuits
  • Nature & Wildlife
  • Shopping
  • Nightlife
  • Tours & Passes
  • Photography
  • Solo
  • Solo woman
  • Couple
  • Friends
  • Family
  • Older
  • LGBTQ+
  • Person of Color
  • Disabled
  • Plus Sized
  • Digital Nomad
  • Expat

GETTING "DETAILS" RIGHT

Here’s where you can get specific if the filters are too broad. For example, if one of your filters is “Cultural pleasures,” you might detail “Live music”… or more specifically, “Live samba.”

You can enter anything you like as a Detail, including typos and misspellings, so take care. Long terms or phrases won’t word wrap well, using up precious display space in your listing. Try to use short common terms travelers will know.

Details, like filters, are listed alphabetically. Space is limited, so be concise. If you enter too many Details, the last ones (alphabetically) may not show.

Details are not searchable.

GETTING "MORE" RIGHT

Here’s where you can wax poetic. Persuade a traveler, who is already interested enough to click the “More” button, to then click the “GO!” button.

Since the Topics and Details have revealed what your piece is about, here’s your opportunity to speak person-to-person. Drop yourself into the story. It makes your blog, vlog or podcast more authentic than corporate travel content.

You can write plenty if you want, but you’re limited to one paragraph. Don’t present a wall of text. Keep it short and sweet.

Edit or Delete a Listing

You can click on any existing listing to make an update or correction.

You can also delete it permanently.

Edit or Delete an Account

Is a new person with a new email running your site or channel? Did any other details change? Edit away. 

You can also delete your account, which will permanently remove all the listings you created.

Caution: is any content not okay?

Bloggerstan helps travelers find quality information and considered opinions. We are not censors. We don’t have a problem with your slumming in seedy Bangkok bars, romping with toy boys in the Gambia or losing your shirt in Vegas. If travelers are gonna do it anyway, they might as well know the risks.

But that doesn’t mean you can post anything

We don’t have the desire or capacity to screen all the original content listed on Bloggerstan. So, we have a “Report” button on each listing. Travelers will tattle on you if you misbehave.

But that’s not you. Your stuff glistens with quality!

So… what’s on the No-No List?

ACCOMMODATION & RESTAURANT REVIEWS

The internet has loads of these already. Booking sites and review platforms abound.

While there’s nothing wrong with quality reviews, Bloggerstan could become clogged with information better found elsewhere. So we don’t want reviews of individual establishments.

Feel free to mention a wonderful lodge in Kandy or list the best halal eateries in Spitalfields.

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SELLING AT THE SEARCH LOCATION

It’s fine to make money from your content.

Box ads and affiliate links are okay.

Direct selling of tours, lodging etc. at the search location is not okay.

Beyond that, your credibility is at stake. If you sell too hard, travelers might conclude that you represent the vendor and not them. They will go elsewhere for travel advice.

HIGH-RISK ACTIVITIES

Was your whitewater rafting on Class II rapids or Class V rapids?

What is “manageable risk” for you might be dangerous for an innocent traveler. 

It’s okay to include extreme sports and other risky activities in your content, as long as you assess that risk.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES

So, you want to help a weary traveler relax with a little weed? 

No problem writing about how to buy marijuana in Canada. Pot is legal there. But if you write about where to buy it in Singapore, you could land a naive traveler in jail.

Don’t discuss activities that are illegal at the search location. However, warnings about illegal activities, such as gay sex in some countries, are very welcome.

DANGEROUS PLACES

What about perilous destinations? You didn’t intend to piss-off this militiaman in Eastern Ukraine, did you?

If you want to talk up dodgy places, be very clear about the risks.

Exception: you’re blameless if a place gets ugly after your publication date. Still, you might want to update or remove your listing.

What Is Quality Content?

Travelers want “how to” content from authentic voices they can believe in.

Compared to a corporate media publisher, it’s easy for bloggers, vloggers and podcasters to convey authenticity. When you reveal yourself as a person and chronicle your misadventures, consumers of your content tend to like you and believe you.

Unfortunately, too many creators put too much of themselves into their content, reducing the portion of useful travel information. It’s especially off-putting when there’s a long personal intro before getting to the practical stuff. Try for balance.

Avoid covering too many Topics in a single content piece. Some of that coverage might be too shallow to be useful. If you can select 8 Topic filters for a 1000 word blog post or a 6 minute video, maybe you’re not covering any of them well enough.

In the age of click bait, puff pieces and Tik Tok, you might assume that travelers have no patience to consume long form content. And that’s true if you ramble on too much before getting to the useful info. Yet travelers are ready to commit precious time and hard-earned money to a trip, so they’re willing to spend time learning valuable tips from your content. Depth is what they’re not getting from other sources, so you can be the Topic guru.

Bloggerstan Topics filters should give you some idea of what Travelers want to know. The list is not very granular or precise, so don’t let it limit you. Use Details tags to get specific. Use the Contents… box to write prose about your stuff. Make is short and sweet.

But facts are only part of the value. Share sincere, passionate, well-founded opinions. If you have the experience, write about the pros and cons.

Not all travel information suffers time decay. Apart from the hideous graffiti, the Taj Mahal hasn’t changed since its completion in 1632.

But the rate of change at travel destinations these days is rapid. Bloggerstan’s founder moans about how Kathmandu isn’t as groovy as it was during his first time there… in 1978. Prices, in particular, change often.

Your content piece might stay fresh for a few years. But if your piece on Kathmandu dates back to 1978, send it to the Wayback Machine. Caution: updating by scraping the internet may not ring true. Revisit Kathmandu.