Have you ever wonder how to become a travel blogger? The idea of “getting paid to travel the world” sounds like a dream job, however, travel blogging is a crowded field, and it gets more crowded by the day.
Running a successful travel blog is bloody work and time-consuming. Posting articles is not going to result in money falling like rain. Blogging takes persistence and you have to work for it. Commonly, you should expect to work hard for a least a year before you start to see sustainable income coming in.
Here, nine things you can do to become a travel blogger and succeed within the travel blogging industry:
1. Create Awesome Travel Content
Writing a diary of your travels for family and friends is easy, but other than them, no one else cares. If you’re looking to run a professional blog that creates a sustainable business, remember that it’s not all about you. No one cares the last country you visited, but they do care about the details of where you went, the food, the landscape, the people, the culture, and they do care about the logistics like how much it cost, where you booked the trip and how long it took.
You need to think about your audience. If you want internet users to read your travel blog, you’ll need to provide something more useful. Budget travel tips, food recommendations, details on what to do or where to stay, photography inspiration, video entertainment, great flowing narrative, beautiful imagery, sense of humor, etc.
Overall, you should “follow your passion.” Otherwise, you won’t enjoy what you’re doing. The key is to follow your passion while also providing something of value to your readers. When creating the content, keep your voice and your flavour (that’s the reason why people read blogs), and when your personality mixes with useful content, that’s when you’ve hit the jackpot.
2. Be like apple – Think different
Whatever you are going to write about, try to present that subject in a way that hasn’t been done before. If everyone is sharing sponsored content, don’t. If everyone is writing articles, create a video. If everyone is serious, be hilarious. If everyone has complex designs, go simple and visual. If everyone is doing one-off blog posts, create a story through a series of posts that keep people coming back for more. Always innovate and do something different that makes you stand out from the crowd.
3. Invest in your blog
Like a business, you’ll need to invest money in it before you start seeing any rewards. Money spent wisely is always a great investment for the future.
First and foremost, you’ll need to pay for a hosting provider. From there you will start building the foundations of your travel blog. It is also important to get a professional theme for your travel blog. You can either personalize one if you have the knowledge or purchase one.
Afterwards, it’s crucial to learn about the industry and the topic that you are going to write about. Purchase courses and ebooks to gain knowledge and become an expert. Spend money on sponsored advertising, keyword search programs, SEO support, a website designer, travel conferences and virtual assistants.
By spending money advertising on social media, you can reach targeted audience. A percentage of them will discover your blog for the first time and become regular readers. Or if you sell products, they may become customers. Targeted advertising exists for a reason — it works.
4. Pick a niche
Nowadays, there are too many long-established travel blogs and websites covering a wide range of travel topics. We recommend being as narrow and deep in your topic as possible. Whether it’s backpacking, South America, London, or your small town, the power of search lets everyone define their niche and still be able to reach millions of potential readers. In fact, being niche now is much better than trying to be a more general site.
Being niche has differentiated this digital magazine from other travel and leisure blogs, so when someone is looking to read or work with an alternative travel blogger, they are more likely to find EastEnd Magazine. When planning new content, ask yourself, does it align with your brand? My own branding is based around unusual travel and leisure, so a majority of my articles are about this theme.
Moreover, focusing lets you become an expert. You can be the person to whom readers always turn for information on this subject or that destination, which allows you to create a bigger presence online.
Here are some examples of travel bloggers who’ve done an excellent job with their niche:
- The Globetrotter Guys: LGTB Travel
- Everything Everywhere: UNESCO World Heritage
- Legal Nomads: Food Travel
- The Blonde Abroad: Solo Female Travel
- Nomadic Matt: Budget Travel
- Wandering Earl: Long-Term Travel
5. Rock That Social Media
When starting out, social media is likely to be your main source of traffic to your blog. Staying active on social media is important if you want to earn your living from blogging. That means regularly posting, actively responding to comments, and sharing other people’s content if you think that would be of interest for your audience.
There are a lot of social media platforms, with a new one seeming to start every day. However, every social media channel should be seen as a place to reach a different audience. Our advice is to stick to around 3 or 4 social media channels at most. Pinterest is probably the best driver of traffic, Instagram is great for connecting with companies, Facebook is appropiate for blogging groups, and Twitter for networking.
6. Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This is a huge component of becoming a successful travel blogger. When you write an amazing piece of content, you post it to your blog and share it across your social media platforms, which is great…but, then what? Once new articles leave the home page of your blog, they’re not often seen again. Unless you learn SEO.
In short, SEO is that process of optimizing a post around a key term that people actually search on Google and other engines. For example, “top things to do in Barcelona”, “what to do in Barcelona”, or “what to see in Barcelona” are long term widely search on Google. Why don’t create a piece of content about it?
Once you’ve written an article using that search term the appropriate amount of times (get yourself the Yoast plug-in for WordPress), and you’ve added it to the “alt description” of the images, the title, the URL and the meta data, you’re ready to publish the post.
But, that doesn’t mean your article will rank in Google right away. SEO involves interlinking articles on your website using key terms, creating backlinks to the article from domains in your niche, and also, your website authority, age, speed and responsiveness plays a role.
Once you know SEO and start to rock it, you’ll begin to see a huge boost in your organic traffic on Google Analytics. And, traffic equals revenue and new followers. Please, note that SEO is a long-term complex beast and needs a bit of learning.
7. Collect emails
Building a consistent email list should be a top priority for all travel bloggers.
With Facebook continuing to limit how many people see your posts and Twitter click-through rates declining, email is becoming an increasingly important channel for marketers. Having an email list has a much higher conversion rate than any social media channel.
There are a number of different ways you can build your email list, but none more effective than through your website. In order to create an email list, you’ll need to offer your readers something. Most travel bloggers offer an ebook, checklists, or some sort of free training in exchange for the email address.
Once you have collected these emails, you open a direct line to your followers in order to send them personal messages, special promotions and provide them with content that no one else has seen before. Your newsletter followers will be the most loyal of all your readers.
There are loads of email marketing service providers which enables you to create highly engaging emails, manage your contacts, segment users into groups, and track the performance of your campaigns. The most popular are probably MailChimp, AWeber and ConvertKit.
8. Be persistent and don’t give up!
Like we mentioned at the start, your travel blog won’t build itself overnight. Maintain realistic expectations about your blog and don’t expect anything but hard work for the first year. Build something consistent that will last. The light is always at the end of the tunnel, but too many people give up right before the end. The reason most bloggers fail is not because they have bad content but because they give up. They don’t want to put in the time to succeed. Part of success is just outlasting everyone else.
Successful travel blogging is hard. If you think this job is just an extended vacation, you are very, very wrong. Be patient. Put in the time and effort. And you’ll reach your goal! Here, 8 tips on how to become a travel blogger in 2019.