SoloFriendly Turns 4!

by Gray Cargill on February 17, 2012

Portofino Bay

Blogiversaries are a time for reflection....

Four years ago, on February 18, 2008 I published my first blog post on SoloFriendly.com. It was pretty much a “welcome to SoloFriendly!” post, without a lot of meat to it. It wasn’t until my third post, One for Vegas that I started along the path to what I really wanted to do: Explore and describe the solo travel experience and try to provide information that would be useful to readers as they embarked on their own solo travels. Four years later, I’ve published 504 posts and spun off a successful Vegas blog, The Vegas Solo.

As I was thinking over the past four years, I was curious about which posts and pages of mine have been the most popular. I pulled them two different ways and excluded the home page (since that’s obviously the most visited page). Some might surprise you (I know they did me).

10 Most Popular SoloFriendly Pages as Determined by Google Analytics

1. Top 10 Reasons to Travel Solo to Disney World
2. Perspectives on Long Term Solo Female Travel – Written by the brilliant Jodi Ettenberg of LegalNomads. Thanks, Jodi!
3. A Room for One: Norwegian Epic’s Studio Staterooms – My review of the rooms following a two-night press trip in 2010.
4. A Day Trip to Versailles from Paris
5. My About page – Wow. You all obviously know a lot more about me than I know about you!
6. 100 Things To Do In Vermont
7. 10 Tips for Hiking Alone Safely – This was a great guest post from Geraldine DeRuiter of the consistently hilarious Everywhereist blog. Thanks Geraldine!
8. Where to Eat in Burlington – There are clearly a lot of hungry people visiting Burlington, VT.
9. NCL Creates Staterooms for Solo Travelers – Based on the original announcement of these new rooms.
10. Things to Do in Burlington

Just as important (to me) as traffic is engagement. So I also pulled by comments. (My static pages were excluded from this, as most of them are not set to accept comments.)

10 Most Popular SoloFriendly Posts Based on Number of Comments

1. Top 10 Reasons to Travel Solo To Disney World – I’m particularly proud of the fact that this post continues to draw comments and is creating a nice little community in the comments section two years after I posted it. That’s what I’d like to create more of: community among solo travelers.
2. Win a Trip for ONE – This was a contest to win a trip, and comments were a form of entry, so naturally, it got a lot.
3. The Village Idiot in Paris
4. 7 Things About Travel That Stress Me Out
5. Next up: Paris
6. How I Became a Solo Traveler
7. My Travel Regret: Egypt
8. A Room for One: Norwegian Epic’s Studio Staterooms
9. Eat, Pray, Love and the Importance of Solo Travel
10. Perspectives on Long-Term Solo Female Travel

So there you have it, the “best of” SoloFriendly, as determined by you, the readers.

I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks to you all for reading, commenting, sharing, and showing interest in solo travel and in SoloFriendly: Thanks to the 875+ of you who have “liked” the SoloFriendly Facebook page and participated in the community over there.Thank you to the 881 of you who subscribe to my RSS feed and read my posts through email or your favorite reader.Thanks to the 6,500+ of you who have connected with me on Twitter, and the 511 of you who have added me to your Google + circles.

And a HUGE thank you to all of you who have reached out to me personally via email with questions, comments, and feedback—and especially those of you who have taken the time to let me know that you’ve been inspired to travel solo because of my blog. You have no idea what a treasure those emails are to me. I love knowing that something I’ve written has made a difference in your lives. There is no better feeling in the world. Thank you for four terrific years!

Gray February 26, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Thank you very much, Sabina! And yes–I think you should. Two years is a big deal in the blogging world, too. Most people don’t make it that long. Kudos to you, too.

Sabina February 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Congratulations, Gray! Four years is a long time in any arena, much less the world of travel blogging. I admire you for being able to keep your website so interesting for so long. My two-year anniversary is actually this month. Perhaps I should commemorate it…

Gray February 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Same to you, Lisa. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you over the past couple of years….and having fun Skype chats. 🙂

Gray February 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Thea – Thanks! Yes, if you truly enjoy it, the time flies.

Lisa @chickybus February 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

Congrats, Gray! What an awesome accomplishment! I’m glad you listed your “best of” posts all in one place. Will make it easier for me and others to check them out.

Thanks so much for the quality work you do–and for inspiring people to travel solo. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you over the past 1.5 years and chatting about travel. I look forward to following your journeys far into the future! 🙂

Thea | Write Change Grow February 21, 2012 at 3:51 am

Hi Gray
Four years congratulations!!! That is fantastic. I realised today I am fast approaching my 2 year anniversary. It’s amazing how fast it goes.
Congratulations again and look forward to many more wonderful posts on solo travel. I didn’t know about your solo Vegas blog, so I will have to head over and check it out.
Cheers
Thea

Gray February 20, 2012 at 10:56 am

Aww, thank you very much, Tracy! It’s been a pleasure watching you explore the world of solo travel on your blog as well.

Tracy Antonioli February 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

Happy anniversary! For the record, you’re this travel bloggers favorite travel blogger (follow that?) I love that you encourage and inspire others to travel solo. It’s really the best way to travel!

Gray Cargill February 19, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Thanks, Christine! Congrats to you too, very exciting stuff going on with you. 🙂

Christine | Grrrl Traveler February 19, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Wow, congrats! That’s pulling some hefty fans! Way to go Gray. It’s nice when all the work pays off.

Gray February 19, 2012 at 8:43 am

Aw, thanks Kent! Definitely. I think a Vegas meetup is in order. 🙂

Kent @ No Vacation Required February 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Congratulations! Your love of LasVegas fast tracked you to our inner circle of favorite peeps. We’ll celebrate that one day – in Vegas, of course.

Gray February 17, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Thank you, JoAnn!

JoAnn February 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Congratulations Gray!

Gray February 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Thank you, Jeff. I’m glad you were inspired to create something of your own. It’s hard work, but it can be very rewarding, too.

Jeff B February 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Congratulations! I found your site about a year ago and have really enjoyed it. I just started my own travel site after being inspired by yours and many others that I now follow.

Gray February 17, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Thanks, JoAnna! Let’s hope.
Thank you, Bess! Have a great time in New Orleans. If you have any questions my back posts don’t answer, feel free to shoot me an email.

Bess February 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Congratulations on four years of blogging! You’ve found a really nice niche for yourself. I’ll be going to New Orleans soon, so I plan on reading your back posts about that city.

JoAnna February 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Congratulations and happy birthday! Here’s to four more great years!

Gray February 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

@Keith B – Thanks for coming along for the ride! No, it doesn’t seem that long ago. Time sure flies.
@Gail77 – Thanks very much! I hope I’m helping others as you say. That’s really the whole point of the blog.

Gail77 February 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

Congratulations! I have enjoyed your posts and believe that by sharing your challenges as well as successes you help others get over the fear of solo travel. Wishing you many more successful years. Gail

Keith B February 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

Wow, 4 Years, Happy Birthday, does not seem that long ago does it. Have enjoyed every moment of it. Thanks for taking me along for the ride.

Still hoping to catch up in September,

Your Aussie Mate

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