Sherpa Sites for hikers, backpackers, and outdoor brands

As outdoor bloggers, we are constantly looking for new ways to tell our stories and distribute them to the people that are interested in the great outdoors.  We’ve been discussing this process internally here at Trail Sherpa as a team for quite some time now.  We’ve discussed the best practices for telling a story online, how best to share those stories online, and most importantly, how to find and engage readers to build a community around our shared passion.

It’s the challenge that faces every outdoor blogger and the one that we were inspired to answer.

We spent months looking at hiking, backpacking, gear, and outdoor related blogs and websites.  We discovered a few trends:

  • Most of us blog as a hobby, not a business.  Resources are limited, but passion and creativity most certainly are not.
  • The story is more than the hike itself or the trail report; it can be about the mental and physical challenges as much as the author’s personal philosophy for interacting with nature or even the struggle between fear and the desire to overcome.
  • Hikers and backpackers are committed to their experience on the trail. They often look for ways to improve those experiences by making custom gear or by seeking advice from fellow adventurers.
  • Most of us are more willing to share on the trail than almost anywhere else in our lives.  We see that carry over to the online community we belong to as well.  The great outdoors is a community we all share.

So we set out to create a network of blogs and websites to help hikers, backpackers, custom gear makers, and outdoor organizations share their stories with the outdoor community.  We call it Sherpa Sites.

What is Sherpa Sites?

Sherpa Sites is a hosted blogging network designed specifically to meet the needs of hikers, backpackers, and outdoor organizations.  Like Blogger.com or WordPress.com, Sherpa Sites provides a platform on which you can build a website or blog in just minutes and begin publishing your content.  But unlike those two platforms, Sherpa Sites was built with specific functionality and design elements for outdoor brands.  Sherpa Sites are much more complete out of the box with outdoor themes, preformatted sidebar, integrated functions for eCommerce and membership, and SEO templating.  We’ve tried to do as much of the setup as we could so that you can start blogging effectively within minutes.  Of course, Sherpa Sites owners can further customize their sites as much as they want.

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The Global Network

But Sherpa Sites is more than just a hosted blogging platform for outdoor bloggers.  Sherpa Sites is also a content network powered by the member blogs.  All content that is created on a Sherpa Site is syndicated to the Trail Sherpa website.  This increases the exposure for that blog and helps Sherpa Site owners build a readership quickly while at the same time providing a central content hub for the entire network.  With a Sherpa Site, your content and products are visible not just on your site but are also excerpted on www.TrailSherpa.com in global feeds that display the content from all sites on the network.  Global feeds for blog posts, trail reports, gear reviews, trail recipes, and products will provide your blog with visibility that reaches well beyond just your domain.

Goals for Sherpa Sites

Our goals for Sherpa Sites were clearly defined from the very beginning.  We want to:

  • Make it quick, easy, and affordable for anyone to create an outdoor website or blog
  • Design themes and functionality that help hikers, backpackers, and outdoor brands tell their stories more effectively
  • Provide a platform that allows site owners to scale quickly and expand functionality as needed without concern for the back-end management
  • Promote the members of the network by aggregating excerpts of blog posts, trail reports, gear reviews, trail recipes, and products on the Trail Sherpa site to foster readership for all sites on the network

Create a Sherpa Site

We haven’t set a firm launch date for Sherpa Sites yet but it will be very soon.  We are actively testing the platform now to work through the bugs and test functionality under various setup scenarios.  That’s a challenge given the countless ways the platform can be used to configure a website!

We are inviting anyone interested in Sherpa Sites to pre-register now.  Anyone that pre-registers will get a month free PLUS a chance to win 6 months free!

We will also provide pre-registrants with information on the platform as we move through testing and up to the release date.  There is no obligation for pre-registering but it is a great way to ask questions and learn more about the platform before it goes live.

Already have a site?  No worries, our design team can help you migrate your existing site to the network.  We can even discuss more ambitious options for anyone that is interested in a full overhaul of their site.  Just let us know how we can help.

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I'm the founder of Vestor Logic, the digital strategy and web design firm that created Trail Sherpa, ParksFolio, and Modern Steader. I'm a day hiker, top chef in camp, doting husband, and father to two headlamp wearing boys. My work in digital media brings those experiences to life.