Monday, October 1, 2012

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Answering Your Survey Responses, A Brand New Site Design, and Picking the Europe Contest Winner

Nomadic Matt's Travel Site: Answering Your Survey Responses, A Brand New Site Design, and Picking the Europe Contest Winner

Answering Your Survey Responses, A Brand New Site Design, and Picking the Europe Contest Winner

Posted: 01 Oct 2012 02:41 PM PDT

questions for mattA few weeks ago I asked you to complete my annual reader survey. I got a lot of responses (thank you!) and I spent hours going through all of them. Your feedback lets me know what I am doing right and wrong, and what I need to improve on. I take all constructive feedback to heart, and since you took the time to respond to my survey, I wanted to take the time to respond to you.

Spelling/Grammar – “Hooked on Phonics” never really worked for me and I’ve brought in an editor for my blog posts. However, while she reads new posts, she doesn’t go through my archives or guide section. I’ve shared your concern about this for a while and in order to improve every written word on this website, I've hired someone to go through my entire archive and proofread it. It’s a long process as I have over 1,000 pages on this website; she started last month and we’re slowly getting there. If you do see any typos, please let me know so I can change it. We’re all human and sometimes we miss stuff. But the old posts are getting better and hopefully, you’ve noticed a change in the new posts!

Negativity – A few of you mentioned I’ve been a bit of a Debbie Downer lately and while I can really only think of two posts where that happened, that feedback really got me thinking and I’m going to publish a blog post on the subject in the coming weeks. I’ll briefly say that while I try not to be overly negative, this website is my personal journal as much as it is an informational guide. I’m very open here and I don’t really sugarcoat anything; just as there are bad days in life, there are bad days in travel and sometimes I’ll write about that. It’s not about being ungrateful for this amazing opportunity I have, it’s just that sometimes I have a bad day and I talk about it! However, I will be more conscious about this moving forward.

Responding to comments – It was also mentioned that I seem to be responding to fewer comments lately and I will admit that it has gotten harder for me to keep up with everyone. This year was a huge year for me (I wrote a book!) and as life has gotten busier it has gotten harder for me to keep up with all the comments, tweets, FB questions, and 100+ emails per day while still trying to enjoy life and travel. You guys are what keeps this site running, so I apologize for slacking off and will try to take Steve’s advice, become a productivity ninja, and be better at responding to everyone. The best way to reach me is via e-mail, so if you have a question, it’s best to e-mail me to ensure I don’t miss it!

Blog articles – Thanks for all your suggestions on how I can help you travel better. Your feedback made the wheels in my head turn and I have a number of great post ideas! some of the articles you’ll be seeing over the next few months include:

  • More interviews
  • Tips on cheap accommodation besides hostels
  • How to work on the road
  • Motivational articles, including profiles of people who have used this website to get on the road – because if they can do it, you can too!
  • Family travel
  • Suggested itineraries
  • Gear reviews
  • Guest posts by non-Westerners on how they find the money to travel and overcome visa issues that folks like me don’t have experience with.

Navigation – A lot of you have said it is really hard to go through my archives and find the information you want. This has been a major concern of mine for a long time. The last design was an improvement but I made some other changes this weekend. I’ve made the search button on the top of my website easier to read, increased the size of the topics button on the right sidebar, installed a “you might also like” plugin to point you to articles related to the one you're reading, and made the back/older button on the blog page more predominant. If you have other suggestions, I’m all ears!

Another thing people mentioned was the design of my site. While they enjoyed the new layout introduced back in March, they still thought it was harsh on the eyes and a bit cluttered. I couldn’t agree more, which is why I’d like to announce today that I have a brand new design. Since my last change, I've learned a lot about fonts, spacing, and design and have incorporated those changes into a new layout with special fonts for easier reading, better spacing, and less clutter. If you are viewing this via RSS or e-mail, come over to the website and see the new design. I love it! I’m finally at a happy place with this site.

Who gets to go to Europe?
Lastly, unrelated to the survey, in August I partnered with Vayama and Hostelworld to give away a free 12 day trip to Europe. Contestants were asked to create a blog or video explaining why they should be the one to win. After wading through a couple hundred entries, a winner has been chosen.

Let’s congratulate Kay Rodiguez who made a post AND a video about why she should go to Europe. It was original, and was smart, it was humorous. Here’s the video that won it all:

P.S. – Has my site helped you move from cubicle to nomad? Has it just helped you save a bundle while traveling? If you would like to be featured on this website, I’d love to share your story as a way to inspire others. I love sharing others inspirational stories. If you want your storied shared, please e-mail me at

P.P.S. – A number of you asked me questions in your survey responses. Since it was a blind survey, I can’t e-mail you back. If you have a question, visit my contact page and send me an e-mail.

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