In a recent interview, we chatted with Matt while he was traveling through Oaxaca, Mexico. He shared how he built Nomadic Matt from the ground up, what he’s working on now and how he manages to enjoy a non-working vacation every once in a while.
Can you give us a breakdown of all your current creative undertakings?
I have the blog, which is NomadicMatt.com, and then I have blogging and writing courses. Then we have a conference called TravelCon, where online creators and media go to learn what’s hot in the travel industry.
I had a hostel, which is closed due to COVID-19, and we have our online community, the Nomadic Network, which also used to hold in-person events around the world. And then I have a charity called FLYTE, that raises money to send high-school kids in underserved communities on study-abroad trips.
Why did you decide to become a travel blogger?
I started the website to try to get freelance writing gigs. I naively thought that if I started a website, that people would hire me to write. So I sent out a lot of freelance writing pitches and worked as a copywriter for online ads and websites for a time.
While building up the blog, my mentor said to me, “You have a travel website and expertise. You should just focus on that full-time.” And so I did, and it took off.
I brought a lot of SEO knowledge into Nomadic Matt, so I was ranking highly on search, which helped me get media mentions. I got a hit in the New York Times in 2010 and that launched everything. And one day I woke up, and I said to myself, I guess I’m a travel writer.
How much of your SEO knowledge do you use today?
At least two-thirds of the searches on our site have nothing to do with the pandemic, so a considerable amount of our time and effort goes into ensuring we rank highly on these more evergreen topics. I’m also always updating our content and asking, “How can we optimize this page?” and “How is Google ranking our competitors?”
I’ve identified about 150 pages on my website that I always want to rank highly. So we cycle through those articles and ask ourselves, “Where do we stand?” And if we see we’re down in the rankings, we ask, “What’s changed and what can we do better?”
I also do every interview I’m offered, because those interviews link back to my site.
You mentioned your blogging course. Can you tell us about that?
I have a blogging course called Superstar Business Masterclass, and we have one for writing, too. You can buy a monthly, quarterly or yearly subscription, and I am your teacher. I edit your work. We have weekly calls. You have tech support. We have a community forum and a collaboration board so other students can meet each other. I share what I’ve learned over 12 years, so people don’t end up making the same mistakes I did. I also help you stick out when there’s a million platforms and a seemingly endless number of bloggers.