This past weekend marked an important milestone for our family, or more importantly for the blog. Two years in operation and over 800 posts later, and we are still more excited then ever to bring you the best in family entertainment. Who knew what this site would become one day?
I have said it before that this site kind of started as an accident. When my primary career was slow, and I was told to sit there until work came in. I was too valuable to my company to let go, so it paid to keep me on the bankroll, even if I did not have much work to do. I decided to subscribe to hosting and just randomly threw InACents up on the server. I knew nothing about blogging, or WordPress, or marketing, or any other talent you learn from owning your own site. From there, I did not even know what I was going to make InACents about. I already had some notes I wrote to myself that I had prepared for my own files, and decided to throw the first post up on the site, Lessons Learned from a Sheriff Sale.
I learned a tremendous amount of information from our attempt at purchasing a sheriff sale home, and figured I might as well try and help educate others from my own experience, even if I had yet no readers.
From that point, I just continued to do what I do everyday. I spent my spare time searching for the latest and greatest deals, planning our next vacations, and educating myself further on how to prepare for a successful financial lifestyle. All that while maintaining a healthy relationship with my wonderful and supportive wife (who was pregnant with boy No. 2), and raising a highly energetic genius almost 2-year old son at the time. I then continued sharing my passion on the blog. I had no motivation or real path, but I had this new found desire to not only make the site a success, share amazing offers with our readers, and while making the blog an awesome place to relieve stress from a career that I learned to hate. I blogged and learned as I progressed.
As issues came up, I learned that there is a WordPress plug-in for that. The goal was just to share my personal experiences to make my boring corporate work days pass by with no real work. InACents just grew organically. I shared my experiences and motivations for what drives our family, the desire to travel and be financially sustainable.
Even our trip reports back than were rather plain. Very little pictures, if any. Often, posts were just broken into what we did each day, with a lot of text crammed into one post. I like to think our photos and videos in current reports help make the articles a lot more interesting.
In our hunt for free or very cheap airline miles, we also just so happen to stumble upon the Audience Rewards program. Answer some easily re-searchable Broadway trivia questions and earn free miles or points. There really was nothing complicated about the program. It was a no-brainer, and surprisingly no one even knew about it at the time. So I helped break the news not only on InACents, but also on MilePoint.
At the time, I did not want to spam the forums with this new content, especially FlyerTalk, which can be a little harsh on newer users. I wanted to wait a couple days to spread the news. Unfortunately, others quickly picked up on the program and my MilePoint thread and decided to start copying the content not only to their own sites, but also to other forums, and promoting it like they were the ones who discovered it. To this day lots of them refuse to give credit where credit it due, but that is for them to rectify. Regardless, we have been there from the beginning of the Audience Rewards program and continue to build a loyal following just based off of their program alone. Again, thanks to those that acknowledge our hard work to maintain a history of the program, as well as the most up-to-date information out there.
In the meantime, we also began to make our own following off of the various content that we publish. I am shocked and humbled by the amount of traffic that multiple resources say we have each month. I scratch my head every month wondering how it is we could have the kind of traffic we do, and all on our own without the need of joining a conglomerate of travel bloggers. Some of those original posts are still some of our most consistent traffic generators, which is quite amazing to us.
Today, our goal is to share our experiences, what our successes and failures are, and continue to share things with readers that will hopefully make a difference to your bottom lines. Our modest growth continues to be a huge encouragement. Here we are two years later, and I love writing more than I ever thought I would.
The past two years has seen our family experience the birth of our second son, we went through the whole process of buying our dream home and attempting to sell our old house (now a rental), and the countless travel excursions we have taken the boys on to help educate them of the ways of the world.
Our largest adventure to date was the 2.5 weeks we spent in Hawaii (and Disneyland), all thanks to the plethora of information we have learned by using reward programs such as airline miles and hotel points. The lesson to be taken away from the whole experience from an outsiders perspective is that not only do children not have to hold you back from taking vacations of a lifetime, but also that the costs of doing so can really be brought down by proper use of reward points. Not only were we able to take our young family, but we were also able to bring along my wife’s parents, again, thanks to miles.
Here is a list of some of the resources from that most memorable of trips for our family.
– A Video Tour Guide to Teddy Bear World Hawaii (Waikiki)
– St. Benedict’s Painted Church (Big Island, Hawaii) and the Sacred Apple
– Popping the Rocks at Kealakekua Bay (Big Island, Hawaii)
– Finding a Moment of Solitude Waiting for a Disaster
– Our First Sea Turtle Experience at Kahalu’u Beach Park (Big Island, Hawaii)
– A Little Rain Did Not Keep Us From Viewing the Grand ‘Akaka Falls (Big Island, Hawaii)
– Exploring Peepee Falls and Boiling Pots Along Wailuku River (Big Island, Hawaii)
– Leaving Our Vulnerabilities at Rainbow Falls, Big Island, Hawaii
– Exploring Pearl Harbor and Remembering the Sacrifices
– A Review of the Kona Tiki Hotel (Big Island, Hawaii)
– I Almost Lost My Wedding Ring Again at Hanauma Bay (Oahu, Hawaii)
– Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm (Oahu, Hawaii)
– Touring the Dole Plantation via the Pineapple Express Train
– Oahu Hawaii: Waikiki Beach and the $20 Sand Toys
– A Chocolate Crime Scene at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber
– Mission Accomplished: We Have Returned from Vacation
– The Hawaiian Waterfall Gods Were Watching Over Me
Here are some of the articles on planning for the trip.
– Sharky’s Airplane Bag has Goldfish Crackers; Mommy’s Bag Has Money for Emergency Wine
– Toddlers on a Plane are Harder to Entertain than Snakes
– We Are Headed to Teddy Bear World Hawaii
– The Value of a Free Car Seat with Vehicle Rental
– Go!Mokulele $69 Hawaiian Inter-Island Airfare Sale
– So Our Hawaii Flights Now Cost $255
– Points or Points + Cash for Priority Club Stays?
– How We Are Going to Hawaii and Disney for $30
I continue to be driven each day to not only expand upon the InACents brand, but also in partnering with a lot of the other great bloggers out there on my various ideas. As time allows, we will continue to work on some of these other projects we have planned.
2013 will be an interesting year for the InACents family, the first of which is the birth of our third child in May. From there, we will see what else is in store for our family, and hopefully yours.
If there is anything you would like to see more or less of in 2013, please feel free to comment on posts, or you can always email me at justin(at)inacents.com. Our family thanks you for your continued support.
Traveling as a family does not need to be expensive, and hopefully some of our money saving techniques and offers will afford you the priceless memories that may not have otherwise been possible.
Save Money, Travel More!
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