THE WEEKLY #181: HONG KONG HUSTLE
While most people in Hong Kong are hustling from home to job to gym to meeting to home, I’m in a hustle of my own. 20 hikes in 30 days may not seem like a huge task but believe me, it’s not easy.
- I need to research which are the top 20 hikes (in my opinion)
- Figure out where those 20 hikes are, how to get there, logistics, which time of day is best for lighting
- Group them by location and plan my accommodation, transport to suit accordingly
I can get all of that done pretty quickly but it also develops as the month unfolds because you will find out about some hikes as you go from locals or discover them while you are up on the mountain. Have you ever been on a peak and looked at an epic ridgeline and realized it needs to be your next hike? Happens to me every time. So I have a list, but it is malleable. I show it to lots of people and they tell me to remove certain mountains or add hikes. I listen carefully but sometimes I choose to ignore advice if I feel like that person isn’t understanding exactly what I’m about. Most of the time locals will tell you the ‘best’ hikes and it will be the top three from TripAdvisor. No thanks. I like to find the adventurous locals and ask them what their favorites, most epic, most dangerous or best viewpoints are.
Once I’ve gathered all that information, I then need to do the hikes one-by-one, trying to match hikes with certain weather. If it’s cloudy, I don’t want to do a coastal hike most likely but a forest hike will still be good. I try and take a day off only on the worst day of weather each week to give myself the best chance of being out on the trail in the best weather to not only enjoy the hike but to get good lighting for photographs. If it’s sunny, you gotta get out there and make the most of it because you will regret it if you are left with six hikes on the list and only six days to complete them. Then you get whatever the weather delivers.
As I’m doing each hike one-by-one, I’m also keeping up to date with the cataloging of images. Each night after a hike, I make the selects of the best photos and necessary photos for the blog post and add them to my hard-drive. I then edit them and export them with the right settings before uploading to WordPress on the backend of this blog.
The next part is to write a blog post. This takes me about 1-2 hours depending on which hike it is. Most blog posts range from 1000-1600 words about an individual hike. I make sure I give all of the relevant details such as starting and endpoints, duration, distance, incline, how to get there and then I just share my experience and all of the photos I took. I sometimes do it that night but often will do it the next morning. I try and keep up to date throughout the month, which is what I call live-blogging, and is the only way I enjoy blogging. Going back and writing a blog post from an adventure that happened two months ago is the worst way to enjoy documenting and publishing the adventure. I prefer to hustle hard at the moment to get it all done while the adventure is fresh.
So this week I hiked six out of seven days. Taking a day off for a rest on the legs and a bit of rough weather. The ‘day-off’ for me looks like a workout and writing 2-3 blog posts to catch up on any backlog that was created due to the daily adventures. Hopefully, at the end of any day-off, I am back to a clean slate and up-to-date on the hikes. During the week I still try and make sure I work out and run a few times a week on top of the hiking, eat as healthy as possible, get enough sleep to recover well and do other admin tasks, emails and all of the other small stuff that builds up.
The idea is that at the end of the month, I have published twenty individual hiking guides and probably a few other guides like helicopter flights or cliff jump spots. I will have also published ‘The Weekly’ every Monday so that’s an extra four. As you can see it will look like about 25-30 blog posts throughout this month. Oh yeah, Instagram is happening in the background but as you can see it’s just a tiny part of my time as I put most of my effort into the blog. I’ll usually just throw in a few of the already edited photos from the blog onto my phone and post a couple of Instagram photos.
Once I reach the end of the month, depending on what the next month looks like, I am not finished. You see the ultimate goal is to write a full guide for hiking in Hong Kong. So I will do some keyword research and see what people are searching for. I use Keysearch, which is a keyword tool ($100 per year) that allows me to see exactly how many monthly searches occur for specific keywords and keyphrases. In Hong Kong, I may find that lots of people want to know the best hikes on Hong Kong Island or the best hikes near Kowloon. I will analyze that (takes usually less than an hour for the entire region and setting out what I want to write). I will end up with a few guides which are usually smaller regional guides and things like:
- Best easy hikes in Hong Kong
- Best sunset spots in Hong Kong
- Best hikes near Hong Kong Central
- Best hikes near Kowloon
- Best hikes on Lantau Island
These are just examples of specific regional guides. I haven’t researched it yet but it may be something like that. They each take a few hours and I try and knock off one or two in a day at the end of the month program. Once all of the smaller regional and niche guides are collated, I make the big one. The Hong Kong Hiking Guide. In this blog, I put all 20 hikes. I also offer tips about hiking in Hong Kong such as:
- Where to stay in Hong Kong if you are a keen hiker (I needed to know this but couldn’t find it)
- How to get to and from the hikes
- Best time of year for hiking in Hong Kong
- My favorite hikes I suggest if you just have a few days
That will be the end of it all. I have a month of memories from hiking in Hong Kong. I also have 30 blog posts about hiking in Hong Kong, which if all goes well will rank highly on Google and provide information for you guys and thousands of people searching for such information for years to come. You might be thinking it all sounds like a ton of work doing the planning, hiking, documenting, photography, editing, keyword research, writing, and publishing. It is a ton of work but after four years I can make it all happen quickly.
I know a lot of you always wonder how a blogger earns an income so I’ll put a little info here. I’d expect these 30 total posts to rank quite highly among the Google search results. If that is the case, they may generate around 500+ views a day. It’s hard to predict the number but let’s just say 500 a day. My current total daily blog views are 18,000-25,000.
So with 500 views a day (for example), I have the opportunity to place affiliate links in those posts. Affiliate links are things such as hotel recommendations via Booking.com or Hotels Combined, I could also add some tour activity recommendations through Klook or GetYourGuide. You don’t get paid thousands for every booking but you generally get a 5-12% commission from any bookings so if a few people out of those 500 make a hotel or activity booking per day, I can generate a small income from my 30 pieces of Hong Kong content every day… forever.
I also have ads on the page. I know they can be a bit annoying but that is the trade-off I guess of putting all this effort into creating content that you can view for free. Every time those are viewed I get a very small payment. It generally works out to about $25 USD per 1000 views but changes throughout the year.
So, as you can see. I do all of the hikes and write all of the blogs independently. There are no tour companies or hotel collaborations (for the most part although sometimes I get one or two). I just travel in my own way and then the idea is that the Hong Kong block of content will create a small amount of money each day for the rest of eternity. I much prefer it this way as I can do things in my own way and don’t have to be influenced by companies, tour operators or sponsors. The blog income enables me to keep things pretty real. I’m just another hiker out on the trail, catching the metro to and from the hike.
I hope you got something out of that blog posts. I thought I’d share a little insight into my geeky blog life. By the way, as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that being a geek actually means you are smarter than average in your field of expertise. A geek is often obsessed with their hobby or job. I think it would be impossible to succeed as a blogger without being at least a bit of a geek. I wish I had known that in school. Anyway, I didn’t plan on writing this behind-the-scenes style blog post but there it is.
Have a good week.
I’ll drop all of the blogs below from the trails I hiked this week… and published each night.