Want to be a travel blogger? It’s easy to get caught up in the dream. But it is also easy to start living it. Travel blogging is something any one with a computer and an itinerant heart can accomplish. However, sustaining the practice and building to success is another matter.
A recent look at a survey done by bloggerspassion.com showed the salaries of eleven chosen bloggers. They ranged from $3,272 to $258,737. The determining factors were not how much audiences loved reading a blogger’s journal about what he or she ate in Vienna, but rather how many direct sales of products and affiliate sales of products they could to, how much sponsorship they could attract and what money gigs their presence — via blog, podcast, video, speaking assignments, consulting gigs — could attract. So if you want to make money, you have to bear down and get to work.
Not all travel blogging and travel writing is about the might dollar, however. Travel is its own reward and articles well written and read are pretty wonderful, too. You CAN make money if you stay with the practice. And those tips are covered in a membership option with TravelBloggerPro. For now, we’re just getting you started so here are seven pro tips to get the blog rolling.
- Start a blog on WordPress. This is the best and easiest platform to use and one that can start as a learner site and then morph into a profession independent site. You can start your site on WordPress.org.With WordPress.org, YOU host your own blog or website — many people do this through GoDaddy or HostGator. At WordPress.org you’ll find the free WordPress software that you can download and install on your own web server.
WordPress.com, on the other hand, takes care of all of the hosting for you. You don’t have to download software, pay for hosting, or manage a web server. It is similar to Blogger or other platforms in which you can write away but you will not be able to optimize and widen your audiences significantly. Also it casts a non-pro image.
- Once you have your blog down and are comfortable with the Theme you have chosen so that you can easily cruise through the posting process, it’s time to get to work. You need to ask yourself some tough questions: what is this website going to be about? can I really supply enough expertise and written content to make that happen? What unique voice or specialty do I bring to the site to make it stand out somehow? Check out a variety of travel blogs and see what strikes you. Can you do that? Are you the right person to do that? Do you want to team up with someone? Buzzfeed listed what it thinks are the best travel blogs for 2017. We may not all agree but they give you an idea of what is getting noticed and why. Here is another list of more established travel blog websites.
- Now that you know who you are, where you are going, what your site will be about and who will be elected president in 2032, it’s time to start posting. The best combo is curated matter along with your own, and there are a plethora of opinions on what the sweet spot should be. Some say, like social media the ration should be 80/20 with 20 being your own. I say that you should post as often as possible as that is what Google sees. If you can swing it, the majority should be yours as you don’t want your traffic traffic heading off to someone else’s site. To that end make sure you check the “open link in a new tab” box when formatting your stories and links. That way you keep the reader around to see your next post. You may also want to keep your original posts rolling on the blog roll and crated material relegated to a sidebar menu to make sure readers are not confused and to give more weight to your work. You will want to work with chosen key words for your work — something we discuss in the membership portion of TravelBloggerPro — and you will want to use the Yeost plugin for managing what SEO formatting you can,
- Once you are moving and have posted at least 10 of your own stories, take a step back. Is the site sticking to the theme you intended. Remember, site themes must by pretty specific: Diving Sites the around World, or Where to Eat in L.A. or How to Game Las Vegas. If you are writing about the ease of diving in Belize and then post a blog for where to find the best oysters on the eastern seaboard, you are defeating your purpose. If you want to write about diving AND food, start a separate website about food — but again, make it specific: Secret Seafood Finds around the World organized by regions, for instance.
- Tell a story, not a menu. When was the last time you actually listened to someone tell a story that had you wrapped. You wanted to know more — why? Because the story had a point. It had a beginning, middle and end and it had a punchline or surprising conclusion. We discuss writing techniques in the membership portion of the site (launching soon!) and also offer one-one-one coaching and editing. If you want to attract readers you have to get their attention and keep it. It may not be all about you and what you did and what you ate and what you like. But it might involve an experience you had, told from your unique perspective and told with some storytelling skills.
- Commit. You have to commit to this to make it worth your time at all. That means at least one post a week along with some curated posts in a separate spot. Post regularly — Google needs to see that. Get into the habit of snapping photos, taking notes and putting your comments on social media, linking through a URL-shortening software back to your posts. Do this often and you will be rewarded. Be patient, it will take at least six months to start gaining visible traction. Work hard through social to build a following. Those showing counts as much as anything out there when it comes to snagging trips.
- Consider the reader at all times: what do they want to know? What are their questions? Do you have expert tips that could help them? Readers are not interested in you and why you like the gum you are chewing unless A) they happen to be your mother, B) you are famous C) your story is amazing — perhaps you sailed the world solo at the age of 12 D) they are looking for an answer to a question, a solution to a problem, a reason to a quest and you are the right person to provide it. Then zero in on that question, research it, look into the context and history or the topic and come up with some thoughtful answers that you are qualified to provide. Your readers will love you, Google will love you and you will find ever-more opportunities to travel and grow.