• Thoughts on Blogging Four Years Later

Thoughts on Blogging Four Years Later + Reader Survey and Giveaway!

As October got closer, I actually didn’t know if I had been blogging for three years or four. I had to look back at my previous posts to see! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for four years. I wanted to just write a little bit about how the last year has been as a blogger, what’s changed, and what I learned. I also wanted to ask you guys to fill in my first ever reader survey. I am doing a giveaway of my favorite travel product this year you can enter as well!

If you want to read my past updates you can do that here:

Changes on Hippie in Heels this year & what I’ve learned after four years of blogging

New Writers

The biggest change I made this year is bringing on more writers so that I can let them travel in my place when I get invited somewhere but already have travel plans. It’s been so amazing to let you guys experience:

I’m happy that I got to send them on trips in my place because they were amazing opportunities. Now you can learn more about these places even though I haven’t been. It was bittersweet sending them; I was getting some major FOMO. Nothing is changing on this front, except for I hope to send our India based and USA based writers somewhere, too!

Goa Ebook

Insiders Guide to Goa Ebook Cover

My biggest accomplishment (and the hardest thing I’ve done so far in this career) is writing the Insider’s Guide to Goa. It’s a 169-page ebook that took me a LONG time to put together. I’ve been in Goa almost five years and I’ve been wanting to put this together for a long time. My blog has Goa information but just some basic travel tips. This book is where to eat, sleep, party, and what to do in every area of Goa. It’s a completely comprehensive guide to get around Goa from vaccinations to where to get waxed, lol. I covered all the FAQ I get about Goa and am really proud of this book. If you don’t have a copy, you can buy it now with the button below! Use “welovegoa” for a special 30% off.

Buy Goa Ebook

Hippie in Heels Monthly Newsletter

skillshare for bloggers

I finally started a monthly newsletter! You can sign up to it by putting your email at the end of this blog post in the box that says “sign up for my newsletter”. There are also options to sign up at the bottom of this post and on my sidebar.

The newsletter has been cool because I tell what I’m actually up to at that time (since this blog is usually about 30 days behind), I share my favorite post of the month and tell you what my upcoming travel plans are, among other things.

The biggest thing I learned in my fourth year of blogging

Where to Stay Near South Beach

This year, I learned that I need to invest into my blog for it to grow. I didn’t see it as a “real” business until this year. But, things have gotten real! I had to hire someone to do my taxes, I’m getting ready to set up an S-corp, and I’m finally putting away money for retirement. Being self-employed is cool for sure, but there is a lot of extra responsibility that comes with it and it was a big stress on me this year to figure it all out. I’m not done sorting it all, but it’s in the process. I knew I couldn’t do it myself, so I hired people to help.

Investing back into my blog became a no-brainer when after my redesign last year, I saw the increase in readers that I feel were partly because my site was easier to navigate.

So, what investments did I make?

  • I gave up on Long Tail Pro (which was paid) and bought Keysearch
  • I got a premium plan for Gumroad
  • I upgrade to a new host with a VPS THEN upgraded to another host 4x the price of that one that came with extra support, Performance Foundry, who I love.
  • I bought Lightroom and took a class on Skillshare to learn to edit better
  • I have a developer I pay a monthly fee to, who helps me when things go wacky and takes care of my security and WP/theme/plugin updates
  • I upgraded my email
  • I have a Pinterest VA who I pay a monthly rate to take care of all things Pinterest for me – even though I already bought and knew how to use Tailwind
  • I outsource more with multiple VA’s and on Upwork and Fiverr.

With many things I do, I outsource parts of it. This could be things I don’t have time to do, hate doing myself, or don’t know how to do and want a professional. For example, when I wrote my ebook I hired a professional editor to edit it and paid my past designer to make it match the theme of my blog. I paid to have the graphics done to promote it on my homepage and get custom CSS to make it all match.

These days, I am realizing that instead of taking hours to figure something out on YouTube, it’s so worth it to hire a professional.

I also moved my email list from Mailchimp to Mailerlite. These things sound like they might be hard but it was really easy and I’m spending a quarter of the price that I did with Mailchimp. You can get $20 off with my link. My new host helped switch it over, since I get a free hour of developer work from them each month, but you could do it yourself.

I’ve outsourced anything from updating rstyle links to changing my affiliate links in my posts. It’s been a relief and I’m happy to have more people on my team that I can trust. If you’re also a blogger all I can say is that I wished I started delegating earlier.

I’d Love If You’d Take My Reader Survey!

It’s just 10 questions long. I really want to know what you guys think about my blog, the changes I’ve made, and what you like and don’t like about Hippie in Heels.

Wellness Retreat at Myrtle Beach

A blog kind of feels like I’m always “broadcasting” or basically talking too much since I’m just posting my travels all the time and it’s a one-way street. I love when I get comments and readers reach out on social media but I’d really like even more of your input about what you find useful on my blog and if there are things I could do better.

Click here to take the survey.

Enter the Giveaway: 3 Winners for Ebags Packing Cubes

It’s not too shocking that I’d give away packing cubes! I have three sets of packing cubes from Ebags myself and I cannot travel without them. They make life so much more organized and easy. I’d love you guys to have some, too.


I’m giving a set away to 3 people. If you win, I’ll email you and you can choose if you want the classic eBags packing cubes or the Ultralight eBags packing cubes plus what color you prefer. Then, Ebags will mail them to you directly. Because they only ship to the USA, I’m sorry to say that this giveaway is for people in the states only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thoughts on Blogging Four Years Later


About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Hippie in Heels, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Monet Sommers October 2, 2017 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Rachel, this was an incredible post. Loved how you talked about investing in your blog and the responsibilities that come with that. Also, delegating the tasks that would in the end cost you more money or time, totally makes sense.

    As always, appreciate you sharing your wisdom with us!

    • Rachel Jones October 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks Monet and so happy you are apart of the team now!!! Delegating is basically the hardest thing to start, but once you do, it becomes addictive lol to see what you can take off your list and hire someone to do so you can instead write a great blog post… so worth it!

  2. Tempesst October 2, 2017 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on four years! As always, I really enjoy following along (especially now that I’m in NP school and won’t be able to travel much until towards the end of next year) and I hope that our paths cross again someday soon!

    • Rachel Jones October 2, 2017 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      I do too, I’m sure we will! It was so good to meet you and your blog post about India and still helping so many people!

  3. Johannah October 2, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Hey… first visit. Love reading about different places in this big wide world. Thanks!

  4. manda shank October 2, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    Congrats on the blogiversary.

  5. abrokenbackpack October 2, 2017 at 10:13 pm - Reply

    Awesome Rachel! Congrats on your 4 years! :) You’re an inspiration!

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you! An inspiration might be a stretch :p hahahah!

  6. Maureen October 2, 2017 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    I recently started reading your blog and really enjoy all the posts from you and the guest writers!

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks Maureen, I’m so glad people are loving the guest posts, too!

  7. dulciedulcie October 3, 2017 at 12:27 am - Reply

    This was super interesting – love your pro blog tips… your design & photos have got so much more beautiful in the last year :)

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      Thanks! There was something I read that said to do just 1% better on each small thing and then you see big results, so that is what I tried to to.

  8. Amanda W October 3, 2017 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Rachel, you’re amazing! Your hard work and dedication to this blog really shines through in every post you write! I love dropping by to see what’s new and exciting. Here’s to another amazing 4 years of stories and adventures!

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Hi Amanda, thank you so much!! It’s always nice to hear that people see the hard work that goes into it :)

  9. Christine Treece October 3, 2017 at 2:04 am - Reply

    Congratulations on 4 years! Looking forward to reading your blog for many more.

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Christine!! I’m looking forward to seeing where it’ll be in a couple more years!

  10. Alethea Smartt October 3, 2017 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Congrats on your four year anniversary! I’ve been blogging about travel (and more) for over eight years, but have done little to nothing to upgrade my website. That all changed this spring when I signed up for Elite Blog Academy 3.0. I will officially launch my new site this month. Here’s to many more years of blogging success!

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Awesome! I’m excited to see your new site. Upgrading seems like such a daunting task, so I bet you’re excited that it’s almost over.

  11. Stefanie G October 3, 2017 at 4:56 am - Reply

    Happy 4 Years of blogging!!

  12. Joella October 3, 2017 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Oh my goodness- where have four years gone? Congrats, girl! So happy for you and your blogging success!

  13. veena October 3, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

    This was so great to read, congrats on your 4 years! And if you ever need any help with MailChimp or with editing, please let me know, I would love to help out! Keep up the great work :)

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Hey Veena, good to know – I’ll keep that in mind!

  14. Raine October 3, 2017 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Happy 4 year Blogiversary! Thank you for the look into your changes and amazing tips/advice to learn from. I enjoy living vicariously through the posts. Here’s to four more and then some.

    • Rachel Jones October 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm - Reply

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it still and want more posts! :D

  15. Anne October 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Thanks for continuing to blog in this space! I really enjoy your blog and love that an Ohio girl ended up in Goa! I actually love when you post about your trips home too. I don’t want to move home to Columbus, but I miss it sometimes so it’s fun to see what you get up to in the summers:)

    • Rachel Jones October 4, 2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

      Thanks, Anne – nice to know someone reads those posts! I never know what people will find boring haha! & cool to know another Ohio girl is reading!

  16. Nicole Zerbini October 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    My husband and I are always traveling together. These would be so perfect! Thank you :)

  17. Heather October 3, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Love the article! I’m also a traveler and am learning blog ins and outs so I personally love when you give advice.

    • Rachel Jones October 4, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Cool! I will be sharing a few more blogging posts soon with more tips :)

      • Heather October 4, 2017 at 8:26 pm - Reply

        I’m so excited about that! Also, thanks for the response! I recently read you’re a massage therapist, I am too!

        • Rachel Jones October 5, 2017 at 10:45 am - Reply

          Oh, cool! I haven’t done it in a while now because the blog takes all my time – but it’s such a good job if you want to travel or live abroad!

  18. aboutcreativity October 3, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    Good work!

  19. Joan Kubes October 4, 2017 at 3:47 am - Reply

    Congrats! These Ebags Packing Cubes look so awesome!

  20. Pradipta October 4, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    I have been following your blog since last 3-4 years. Being an Indian, still I always try to find any of your post related to a place in India where I want to visit. AND always find something new in your post what is not mentioned anywhere.
    So heartiest congratulations on your four-year-anniversary.

  21. Carla C October 5, 2017 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for all the great articles. They’re very interesting.

  22. Jenny van October 7, 2017 at 1:31 am - Reply

    Amazing, I been following you 3 1/2 years when I decided to take the family to Goa. My then 3 year old loved every moment. I still miss Goa and would love to go back.

    • Rachel Jones October 7, 2017 at 11:02 am - Reply

      Wow Jenny, that’s so cool! I’m so glad your little one had fun. I have an article coming soon from my friend who has kids here about what it’s like traveling with kids outside Goa – maybe you can make another trip to India!

  23. Jeanne Coulombe October 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    First time on your blog and I enjoyed reading it. I love to travel also my husband and I just started last year twice a year we go somewhere. It’s our turn kids out of college it’s dad and mom’s turn to have fun.

    • Rachel Jones October 10, 2017 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Jeanne! Glad you found my blog! I hope you get to do some amazing travels now that the kids are out of the house :)

  24. Stephanie Grant October 9, 2017 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Congrats on 4 years and there is some awesome information in this post!

  25. […] month when I did a little round up on my four years of blogging, and I put in a reader survey with 10 short questions about what you […]

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