A colleague and I recently discussed how every blog we’ve worked on had one post that mysteriously drove a large percentage of traffic for reasons no one could figure out. She told me about the post at my current job (I did a little career switch recently). There was one at my last job that made us scratch our heads. And I laughed, thinking about the post from my old blog that drove the most traffic.
My old blog was called PAWeekendFun. The elevator pitch was that I didn’t have the budget or lifestyle to be an international traveler, so I would focus on sharing the weekend day trips I took in my native Pennsylvania. I wrote about hikes, breweries, small-town charms, and easy weekends away within driving distance of PA. One of those was a long weekend on Cape Cop and Martha’s Vineyard, resulting in a surprise trip to a nude beach. I didn’t partake in the nudity, but I did a quick roundup of nude beaches in the Northeast for those interested. And that was and is by far, PAWeekendFun’s most popular post.
It’s funny that I had that conversation about blog traffic two days before a morning hike to Skinny Dip Falls. This was maybe my third or fourth time there. Skinny Dip Falls is a gorgeous waterfall and series of swimming holes about 45 minutes south of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s easily accessible. The hike is just one-mile roundtrip, and a series of wooden staircases and bridges make navigating very easy. Its accessibility often makes Skinny Dip Falls very crowded. I typically avoid it on weekends and nice weekdays.
I headed to Skinny Dip Falls super early this past Saturday. It was one of those days where I woke up at like five and couldn’t go back to sleep. I figured I might as well do something productive rather than just lay around, so I headed up the parkway. I’d paddle boarded the French Broad Friday night and didn’t want to do a big hike, so figured I’d follow the Mountains to Sea Trail from Skinny Dip Falls up to Graveyard Fields Falls and make it a falls to falls kind of day.
I never made it past Skinny Dip Falls. While there were several other cars in the parking lot, they must have also been following the Mountains to Sea Trail because when I arrived at the falls and pools, it was empty. The solitude made for a great set of photos and a very peaceful morning reading with my feet in the water. I was there alone for at least an hour, which on a Saturday is a minor miracle (shoutout to foggy mornings that turn out to be gorgeous days!).
Skinny Dip Falls is an awesome place, especially when not crowded, and I wondered why I hadn’t written about it yet. The answer was that I never really had an angle. If you want to read a blog dedicated to why a particular WNC waterfall is gorgeous and how to get there, there’s a ton out there. I’m not adding anything to the conversation.
Am I proud that the conversations about blog traffic and SEO came into my head at this peaceful, empty babbling brook? Not particularly. I know I should live in the moment, #bepresent, and not worry about metrics out in nature, but kids, that’s not how you get clicks! I didn’t skinny dip that morning at Skinny Dip Falls because I was miraculously there alone. I didn’t skinny dip that morning at Skinny Dip Falls because you should just skinny dip somewhere called Skinny Dip Falls if you’re there alone. After an hour alone at Skinny Dip Falls, I decided to take advantage of the solitude and skinny dip because then I could write about it on my travel blog, and once upon a time, a post about nude beaching drove tons of organic traffic to my other travel blog. I skinny-dipped to see whether or not lightning would strike twice.
How was it? Cold. And sort of stressful. I’m someone who doesn’t even like taking my shirt off at the beach, so the thought of someone catching me naked, even in a place as aptly named as Skinny Dip Falls, filled me with a dread much deeper than the pool I in which I was skinny dipping. Was it worth it? I don’t know yet. I wrote “skinny dip” eighteen times in this post (plus twice in the title), so let’s see if Google can work some SEO magic.