No Place Like Home?

No Place Like Home?
Photo by Element5 Digital

Editor’s Note: This post is not related to the “persona” for which I laid out a narrative last week. Because I felt no connection to the work group of the burgeoning small businesses owner, I made the decision to do this post on a lifestyle and travel blog by a consultant (and clearly a blog writer) called Ashley Abroad.


I chose to focus on the Ashley Abroad website primarily for two reasons. One, because it centers on one of my favorite things: international travel (and stays), and two, because I, myself once had a fleeting interest in creating a travel blog. Some years ago, I spent a few months living in China while working there as an English teacher. To some degree, I regret not charting my stay there in a personal diary. By now (five years later), most of my memories of that time have grown a bit hazy. The Ashley Abroad website began as a chronicle of the author's time as an au pair in France. Today, it spotlights discussions about cultural elements such as books and wine interspersed between posts about expatriates’ stories detailing their lives abroad. It is due to material related to the latter that I was introduced to it. It has featured more than once in my search results concerning expatriate life in various European countries. It also has relevance to more than one of the digital writing style elements examined in our textbook readings for this week. I will elaborate on a few of those examples below.

Visual Elements. While articles included on the Ashley Abroad website do generally feature visual elements, I do believe that they could be a bit more varied in nature. All the pieces that I have seen on the incorporate pictures of relatively good quality. Most of them also seem to coincide with the locations or activities which are the subject of the posts. These images most certainly accentuate the stories in a very real way; they bring diversity to the text and make it easier for the reader to imagine what is being discussed. What I am often left feeling that they are lacking or could benefit more from, however, is any videos. Videos could really bring the stories to life because the audience would be able to experience the topics of the articles just as the writer was experiencing them at the time that they took place. 

Scannability. The posts on the site also make use of subheadings. I read the articles found there because I want to better understand life abroad through the eyes of an expatriate. As our class textbook discusses though, people may visit a website for different reasons; some might visit a travel blog because they want tips about how to experience a particular location while on a budget. In this respect, the website does a good job at dividing the material found on a post so that it is easier to scan for individual pieces of information.

Engagement. Whereas the site does take advantage of some engagement opportunities, this is an area in which it could also stand to improve. The website includes a comment option at the bottom of the article pages. On the page that I have listed here, the author also seems to acknowledge one of the reader’s suggestions for improvement: don’t only feature stories of women who are living abroad because of their French (Greek, Italian, Peruvian, or whatever) boyfriend who they met while serving as an au pair.

Audrey Huggins February 7, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Regardless of the location, these segments are wonderful but do tend to follow a pattern: my partner is here so I live here now.

Ashley Fleckenstein February 12, 2020 at 11:19 am

Hi Audrey, thanks for the feedback. I will definitely try to include other perspectives (like studying or working abroad without a partner) for future interviews.

So far, however, I have not witnessed any examples of polls, questions, or calls to action in any of the posts that I have yet to read here. Those are not only ways to build engagement, but also examples of ways to build viewer loyalty.

Chanel Brown

Chanel lives on the East Coast and is currently pursuing an MA in Technical & Professional Writing.
Along the East Coast