Guidelines for Content Creators

Table of Contents

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What is Bloggerstan? How does it work?

Bloggerstan is a directory tool serving two user groups:

  • Travelers looking for authentic and trustworthy information about the places they want to go. 
  • Independent travel content creators who provide that authentic and trustworthy information.

Independent creators rely on organic search and social media for visitors. Prominent creators might rank in the top search results for a few of their content pieces. But big publishers, agencies and travel vendors push independents way down the rankings for most searches.

Bloggerstan, with its unique map-based search, is another way for your content to be found. Corporate media and tourism operators are not invited to the site.

You post “listings” of your existing content about places. You could be a travel specialist. Or your site or channel could be about surfing, with content about gear, techniques and competitions. But the content posted to Bloggerstan would be about places where you find the waves: Siargao, Waimea, Puerto Malabrigo or (gulp!) Nazaré.

A listing includes a single image and basic information about one of your blog posts, videos or podcast episodes. It’s all existing content… there’s no need to create anything new, unless you want to polish your listing. It takes about 5 minutes to create a listing and it’s published instantly.

There’s no limit on the number of listings you can post on Bloggerstan. It’s free and always will be.

Travelers search by map location. When they arrive at a location page, they find listings for content, including yours. When they click GO! they’re taken to your site or channel to see your original content… and all the other good stuff there. GO! is a Do Follow link, so you earn a little SEO juice too.

What’s in it for us? We hope to sell location-specific advertising in the future.

For the best results, please pay close attention to these Guidelines. They’re not hard, but you need to be precise.

Welcome and good luck!

What to List?

What should you list, or list first. There’s no stopping you from listing all your destination pieces, but for the best visibility and use of your time:

  • The Road Less Traveled — Some locations on the maps have listings… but not very many. It’s easy for your listing to get noticed.
  • The Road Not Yet Traveled — You can see from the maps where there is no listed content on Bloggerstan (no star or dot = no listings). In the early days of Bloggerstan, there are thousands of travel destinations where your content could be the only content.
  • Unique or under-represented 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.
  • Recently published material — Since listings are presented in the order of publication, the most recent ones appear on top. That doesn’t mean your post from 2011 isn’t a classic! And if you’re on the Road Not Yet Traveled, your epic 2011 post is still No. 1!  Caution: don’t spoil the authenticity of Bloggerstan by listing new content “updates” lacking substantial fresh information.

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.

Mandatory field

  • Best — Enter the title of your content piece exactly as it appears on your site or channel.
  • OK — Shorten the title if it doesn't fit in the two lines of listing space.
  • Not OK — Don’t confuse travelers with big changes. When they click GO!, they expect to arrive at a blog, vlog or podcast with the same title.

Space allows for the same number of characters / pixels as a Google search result. If your title is longer than about 60 characters, it will appear truncated in your listing. Long words at the end of the first row might jump to the second row, wasting precious space.

Mandatory field

VERY IMPORTANT! Each listing has a geographic "Focus":

  • Entire Country — Example: suggested itinerary for three weeks in Thailand.
  • State-Province-Region — Example: best surfing beaches in Hawaii.
  • City-Town — Example: historical walking tours in London.

You select a Focus for each listing. It's vital to get this right, or your listing will not show up where it should.

Mandatory field
 
VERY IMPORTANT! With map-based search, if you get this wrong, your listing will not show up where it should.
 
Almost always...
 

Start typing the location name and a drop-down list will offer choices. We use the Google Places API, so most of the time this works without any problem. The correct location should appear in the list.

When you pick from the list, the three fields below fill in automatically. Check that the Focus of your content (City-Town, State-Province-Region, Country) matches the information in the corresponding field.

  • Old place names will be updated. If you type in the country, "Burma", the Country field below will show as "Myanmar". Yet, the reverse is sometimes true. If you enter the country "Eswatini", the Country field will enter the old name, "Swaziland". Blame Google!
  • Small places with the same name as bigger places can require more typing (including commas as separators). Example: Victoria is the capital of the Seychelles, but does not show up in the first suggestions. You'll have to type, "Victoria, Se..." before the correct choice shows up.
  • If your place name doesn't show at all, it's probably a spelling issue. Don't fight with Almighty Google. Try another spelling or search the internet to see if optional spellings exist.

You only need to get the Focus location correct

  • Focus = Country — It doesn't matter what goes in the State-Province-Region or City-Town fields.
  • Focus = State-Province-Region — It doesn't matter what goes in the City-Town field.
  • Focus = City-Town — 

When the State-Province-Region isn't right

Google uses administrative political divisions... but sometimes there are not common usage or best for travelers. If your content is about the Cappadocia region of Turkey, it contains 5 provinces that aren't helpful to know. 

Manually, enter "Cappadocia" in the State-Province-Region field and any city in Cappadocia in the City-Town field. Since your Focus is on Cappadocia (a region), the city doesn't matter.

When the City-Town isn't right

Suppose your content is about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It's not a city or town. 

Feel free to enter "Kilimanjaro" in the City-Town field.

Mandatory field, filled in when you choose a Location

The list contains 241 countries, territories and overseas possessions of colonial powers recognized as "countries' by Google.

If Focus = Country, it doesn't matter what goes into the State-Province-Region and City-Town fields. Bloggerstan will ignore them.

Mandatory field, usually filled in when you choose a Location

Here, we will call it the "Region" field instead of "State-Province-Region"

It is important to get Region right only if your content Focus = State-Province-Region.

Default = political unit between Country and City

When you enter a Location, Google will fill in the Region. And it's usually correct. But sometimes, Google will offer a smaller province or a larger region. Example: City = Rome, Province = Rome, Region = Lazio. Google likes Lazio in the Region field.

Manual option = well-know regions that are not formal political units

Examples: Scotland, Cappadocia, New England, Catalonia, Kyushu. Enter the Region manually. In the City field, enter the capital or largest city. This ensures the Region will appear correctly on the map.

Where there is no Region

Small countries may not have any states, provinces or regions. If Google provides something... a county, a parish... it's probably okay to accept it. If the field is blank, use the city name in both the Region and City fields.

Mandatory field, filled in when you choose a Location

The smallest geographical area you can choose. It can be a city, a town, a village or a well-known geographical feature.

Default = the city you type into Location

Google has almost any place you can name. If the correct one is not offered in the drop-down list, keep typing. For example, the city of Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, will not show at first. But if you type, "Victoria, Se..." it will appear.

Beware of typos or alternative spelling. Do an internet search if you must.

Manual City-Town for features

Suppose you want to list Mount Kilimanjaro. You already have Country = Tanzania and Region = Kilimanjaro, but City = Moshi. Most travelers won't know Moshi, the town at the foot of the mountain. So you can type in "Kilimanjaro" and it will appear as a place on the map, known to travelers.

Mandatory field

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.
  • Podcasters might have to use an image from a personal collection or find an appropriate royalty free image. Please do not use copyrighted images.
  • Vloggers can use the free Download YouTube Thumbnail utility to grab a still image.
  • Aspect ratio = 3:2 ... Any other aspect ratio will be cropped to 3:2 automatically, with black bars above and below. And that's okay! Optionally, you can crop the image yourself.
  • Default size = 500px X 332px ... This will reduce file size of a jpeg to less than the 100kb maximum. It's big enough to look good and small enough to load fast. Smaller images may look grainy.

Optional field

If you live at or within the geography of your content Focus (Country, Region, City), travelers will be alerted by an icon 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? Be honest about your knowledge. If you don't know Western Australia that well, don't claim to be "local" on Region content. But if you really are expert on Broome, Kalgoorlie, Albany and Prince Regent National Park, your insight is golden!

Mandatory field

Is your content a Blog, a Vlog or a Podcast? Travelers can choose their preferred medium by noting an icon in the listings.

Optional field... blogs only

To get an easy word count, copy your text content to the clipboard and paste it into wordcounter.net

Optional field... for vlogs and podcasts

Format: h:mm:ss

Mandatory field

When was the content published or refreshed?

A pop-up box will open. Select in this order:

  • Year
  • Month
  • Day (only the month and year will show in your listing, so the dd number doesn't matter)

At least one Topic is required

See "Getting Filters Right" (below) for the full list of Topics.

What is your content about? These are broad Topic categories which are used as filters in search results. You can get more specific in the Details and More fields.

Choose at least one of the checkboxes.

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

IMPORTANT: At the bottom there's a box with your Topic selections in it. You can drag and drop to reflect your own priority topics. If you have a lot of Topics, the lowest priority ones may not display.

Optional field

Put anything you want in here to provide sharper focus on your content. For example, if one of your Topics is "Cheap food", Details might include, "Street Food", "Night Market", "Italian", "Mexican", "Vegetarian"...

Again, space is limited, so we limit Details to 15. But, depending on length, some of your items may not show.

IMPORTANT: Details appear in the order you create them. So input your highest priority Details first. You can edit the order by deleting and re-typing.

Optional field

This text box gives you limited space (about 400 words) to say whatever you want about your content.

The easiest way to provide More is to copy and paste the intro text from your original content (if any).

But it's an opportunity to make it a strong pitch for travelers to click “GO!”. For example:

  • Present your experience and personality... the stuff that makes personal blogs, vlogs and podcasts more authentic than corporate content.
  • Get into more detail than Details.
  • Offer opinions that show you're not providing descriptions only.

Except for paragraph breaks, More text cannot be formatted. Nor can links be entered.

Mandatory field

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 more than 30 days, we will remove the listing.
  •  

Getting "Topics" (Filters) Right

Travelers use filters to drill down a stack of listings to find the Topics they want. Avoid the temptation to cram every possible Topic into your listing. Travelers get annoyed if you don’t deliver sufficient quantity or quality on a filtered topic.

Since many of the Topics are broad, you can add specific in Details. We provide some examples below.

We can’t cover everything in our Topic categories, so we have the catch-all “Other”. If you check it, please specify what it is in Details.

  • When to visit
    • Details: seasons, major events, crowds, prices...
  • How to get there
    • Details: air, rail, road, on foot...
  • Sites & attractions
    • Details: the usual tourist attractions and (even better) hidden gems
  • Suggested itinerary
    • Details: duration of visit ("Cape Town in 4 Days")
  • Health & safety
    • Details: water, malaria, crime, civil unrest...
  • Language
    • Details: useful phrases, avoiding cultural mistakes
  • Other logistics
    • Examples: money, device compatibility, special clothing or gear for the destination...

Per person per day. Numbers are the upper limit, suggesting that lower is possible. Exception: the last one, for monied travelers.

Stick with per person per day, unless you mention sharing costs in your content.

  • <$25 day
  • <$50 day
  • <$100 day
  • <$250 day
  • >$250 day
  • Long distance transport
    • Details: air, rail, bus, car...
  • Local transport
    • Details: trains, buses, cars, taxis, small public vehicles...

Please not that Bloggerstan does not welcome listings reviewing single hotels or resorts. Lists are fine.

Price categories depend on where you are: compare $50 in Amsterdam vs. $50 in Bangkok

  • Accom (any)
    • You don't differentiate between price categories. 
  • Cheap accom
    • Details: hostels, budget hotels, camp sites...
  • Midrange accom
    • Details: most hotels and private rentals
  • Luxury accom
    • Details: 4 and 5 star hotels and resorts, high-end private rentals 

Please note that Bloggerstan does not welcome listings reviewing a single restaurant. Lists are fine.

  • Food (any)
    • Details: since this is a catch-all Topic for any source or type at any price, what is covered?
  • Cheap food
    • Details: restaurants, street food, food stores, markets...
  • Haute cuisine
    • Details: type, cost, quality, access?
  • Halal or Kosher
    • Details: which one? If Kosher, how strict?
  • Vegetarian or Vegan
    • Details: which one?
  • Bars & pubs
    • Details: sports, music, dive, other type
  • Food tours or classes
    • Details: tour or class, cuisine
Details: if the site or event is famous, name it in Details.
 
  • Museums
    • Details: type, special exhibits, famous items or collections
  • Historical sites
    • Details: what, when accessible
  • Religious sites & events
    • Details: site, event or both
  • Live performances
    • Details: type of performance or specific events
  • Sporting events
    • Details: type of sport or specific events
  • Nightlife
    • Details: type of venue and entertainment
  • Arts & crafts
    • Details: fine art, local crafts, classes...
  • City tours & passes
    • Details: bus tours, walking tours, historical tours, multi-venue passes
  • Other cultural
    • Examples: dance or music lessons, film festivals
  • Hiking or trekking
    • Details: day hike, multi-week trek...
  • Bicycling
    • Details: rentals, city, intercity, tours...
  • Motorcycling
    • Details: rentals, licensing, insurance, tours...
  • Swimming or snorkeling
    • Details: which or both, 
  • Surfing (any)
    • Details: wave, wind, kite, sand...
  • Skiing (any)
    • Details: downhill, cross-country, snowboard, water, sand...
  • On the water (any)
    • Details: sailboat, motorboat, kayak, raft, canoe...
  • Climbing
    • Details: mountaineering, rock climbing...
  • Camping or RVing
    • Details: which one?
  • In the air (any)
    • Details: ballooning, ultra lites, paragliding, hang gliding...
  • Golf
  • Fishing or hunting
    • Details: going after what?
  • Other outdoors
    • Examples: off-road motoring, caving, skateboarding, riding (horse, camel)...
  • Parks & reserves
    • Details: national or regional parks, nature reserves, marine parks...
  • Geological features
    • Details: waterfalls, canyons, mountains...
  • Wildlife viewing
    • Details: what wildlife?
  • Other nature
    • Example: conservation activities
  • Shopping
    • Details: souvenirs, clothing, electronics...
  • Wellness
    • Details: yoga, gyms, spas, spiritual retreats...
  • Photography & video
    • Details: best sites, timing, equipment...
  • Volunteering
    • Details: teaching, construction, medical

Select only if it has a significant bearing at the destination. Examples: solo woman traveling in Egypt, gay man traveling in Uganda, Black person traveling in China, Disabled person traveling almost anywhere outside the high-income countries

  • Solo
  • Solo woman
  • Couple
  • Family
  • Older
  • LGBTQ+
  • Disabled (any)
  • Person of color
  • Digital nomad
  • Luxury

Getting "Details" Right

Details are either:

  • The specifics of Topics you’ve already chosen. For example, if one of your filters is “Live performances,” you might include “Samba” in Details.
  • Enticing hints about special knowledge in your original content. 

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

You can list up to 15 Details, but they may not all fit in available display space, so shorter is good.

IMPORTANT: Details appear in the order you create them. So input your highest priority Details first. You can edit by deleting and re-typing in correct order

Getting "More" Right

The easiest way to handle this is to paste in whatever summary you have on your original content.

Maybe there’s more opportunity than that. After all, the traveler is already interested enough to click the More button, so half the “sale” is already made.

  • Tease for a click. — You’re trying to persuade the traveler to click the GO! button. Without giving away too much, tease about the treasures that await in your original content.
  • Re-enforce your authenticity — The advantage bloggers, vloggers and podcasters have over commercial media is authenticity. In most cases, a traveler won’t click on your profile to get to know you, so here’s another chance to present yourself as a real person. A personal anecdote from the destination is perfect.

Word limit = about 400. Don’t present a wall of text. There’s no formatting, but you can break it up into short paragraphs.

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.

Is Any Content Not Okay?

Bloggerstan helps travelers find quality information and constructive 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 shines with quality!

So… what’s on the Do Not List… list?

REVIEWS OF A SINGLE HOTEL OR RESTAURANT

While there’s nothing wrong with quality reviews, travelers can find millions of them elsewhere on the internet. And there’s a sub-set of content creators who get comped rooms and meals in exchange for a sweet review. So we don’t want reviews of individual hotels or restaurants.

In the context of a more general topic, feel free to mention a wonderful lodge in Cuzco or that fantastic masala dhosa place in Dar es Salaam. Create an entire blog post listing the best halal eateries in Spitalfields or the best budget hotels in central Tokyo.

REVIEWS OF A SINGLE HOTEL OR RESTAURANT

While there’s nothing wrong with quality reviews, travelers can find millions of them elsewhere on the internet. And there’s a sub-set of content creators who get comped rooms and meals in exchange for a sweet review. So we don’t want reviews of individual hotels or restaurants.

In the context of a more general topic, feel free to mention a wonderful lodge in Cuzco or that fantastic masala dhosa place in Dar es Salaam. Create an entire blog post listing the best halal eateries in Spitalfields or the best budget hotels in central Tokyo.

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SELLING AT THE SEARCH LOCATION

It’s fine to make money from your content.

The usual ads and affiliate links are okay.

Direct selling of tours, lodging etc. at the search location is not okay. Travelers might conclude that you represent interests of the vendor… and not fellow travelers. 

If you want to sell a local product or service available at the location, we would be happy to sell you some ad space! 

SELLING AT THE SEARCH LOCATION

It’s fine to make money from your content.

The usual ads and affiliate links are okay.

Direct selling of tours, lodging etc. at the search location is not okay. Travelers might conclude that you represent interests of the vendor… and not fellow travelers.

If you want to sell a local product or service available at the location, we would be happy to sell you some ad space!

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.

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 Thailand. Pot is legal there. Futher south, if you write about where to buy it in Singapore, you could land a naive traveler in jail.

Don’t suggest activities that are illegal at the search location. However, warnings about illegal activities, such as drugs in Singapore or gay sex in Uganda, are very welcome.

ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES

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

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

Don’t suggest activities that are illegal at the search location. However, warnings about illegal activities, such as drugs in Singapore or gay sex in Uganda, 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.

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 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 should give you some idea of what Travelers want to know. But don’t let our Topics list limit you. Use Details tags to get specific. Use the "More…" box to write prose about your stuff.

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. Travelers can get narrative descriptions elsewhere... your opinions are diamonds.

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 is rapid these days. After a second visit, Bloggerstan’s founder moaned about how Kathmandu wasn’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.