Since I’ve been blogging a little over a month now and things are going rather smoothly, I wanted to create a post that was a beginner’s guide to travel blogging from a beginner’s perspective. Hopefully it will help you navigate and find the “path” you’d like to take.
Travel blogging is something that a lot of people do. There are a wide range of travel blogs. Some blogs focus on historical places, others focus on weird festivals, and some focus on luxury travel. There’s a lot of other niches that people are involved with that I’ve not listed, but you get the point. There are a TON of travel blogs and a ton of people writing about travel. Not only that, most people who are creating something like my beginner’s guide to travel blogging have been blogging for years! Their perspective and input is 100% reliable and awesome – you should seek their advice!…But, still, it has been a while since they’ve been in a newbie’s shoes.
Ok – I know. I’m a beginner, a newbie, so why should I write this post? Am I qualified to do so? Well…what does qualified mean, really? Am I an expert? Nope! I mean I am still learning the ropes, but I’ve learned a ton and if you’re just starting or are struggling, I have a few things you could try out. In my first month as a travel blogger, I had over 9000 visitors. That’s not amazing, but it is NOT bad, especially for the first month of blogging. So from one newbie to another, here’s my beginner’s guide to travel blogging. I hope it helps you out!
A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging:
So, if you’re reading this you’re starting a travel blog or are struggling with yours. Here are some of the things that you SHOULD be doing if you have a travel blog.
MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT THE RIGHT WEBHOST
There are tons of hosts. Most people end up on BlueHost because a lot of people suggest it. Some people have had no problems with BlueHost but I really did not like it. Again, others have had no issues. I prefer SiteGround. I LOVE SITEGROUND!!!! They’re amazing. I was on BlueHost and switched to SiteGround and couldn’t be happier. My website became faster (by 7 seconds!) immediately when I transferred my site. It is really easy to switch between the two, so if you’re unhappy with one or the other, make your switch. Of course, there are other options for web hosting as well. Do your research before you settle – but if you want my opinion, go with SiteGround.
CHECK YOUR SITE’S SPEED
Seriously, people will not wait around for your pages to load. Check the speed every few weeks and figure out what is wrong with your site if it is too slow. There are many ways to speed up a website (see next section). Check your speed with Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom Wesbsite Speed Test, or WebPage Test.
SPEED UP YOUR WEBSITE IF YOU NEED TO
There are a ton of articles from other blogs about how to do this with plug-ins. I use WP Smush, WP-Optimize and SuperCacher all of the time. Depending on your situation, you may want to speed up your website with a content delivery network like MaxCDN. This will speed up your website a good bit.
BACK UP YOUR ACCOUNT
I didn’t. It was a total disaster. Losing information happens. It happened to me and it was a mess. I repeat — IT WAS A MESS! Please backup your information. There are plenty of plug-ins in WordPress (if you’re using WordPress) to do that.
JOIN TRAVEL BLOG SUCCESS
I’m not even lying, I wish I would have found this sooner. It would have saved me a lot of trouble and helped me not make so many newbie mistakes. I found it near the end of my first month and did not really work through it (due to time) until the very end of the month. I really regret not working through this program before I started my blog. Truly, the resources, information, tips, and secret Facebook Group are amazing. DO NOT think you don’t need it, because you probably do.
LEARN WHAT SEO MEANS AND HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE
Do not neglect learning about SEO. It is difficult to understand but after a while you get used to it, you figure it out, and you’re able to navigate through the jargon. Also, if you want to be anywhere near the top of Google and Yahoo’s search engines, knowing what SEO means and how to utilize it is a must. I use Yoast SEO on my blog.
This may help you out: A Beginner’s Guide to SEO.
NETWORK YOUR TAIL OFF THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
Here’s one area where I really could have done better. Get on Twitter. Get on Instagram. Make sure you’re all over Facebook. I do these things, but sometimes I do not make enough time for them. Don’t be like me – use your social media to your advantage.
Create a Facebook page and link it to your blog. Link your Instagram to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Be active on Facebook, especially. This is where I get most of my visitors from. Join Facebook Groups that belong to your niche and engage with those groups. Do not spam those groups. There is nothing more annoying than a spammy group member.
On Twitter, seek to network, and engage with other users. Just following and posting only gets you so far. Post pictures and use hashtags. People love to be mentioned in posts, asked question, have their content re-tweeted, and be engaged with. Do it! You’ll get positive results. Plus, its fun and you’ll get to meet so many people and learn so much through those people.
MAKE MONEY OFF THAT BLOG
There are plenty of ways to make money off of your blog. After all, it should pay for itself (at least). Some people aren’t interested in making money from their blogs and that is totally OK, but some people are. If you are, there are many ways to do this. Sign up for affiliate programs and link those to your blog. Apply to Google Adsense. Set up a store in your blog. Become an Amazon Affiliate. Whatever you do, don’t let your blog “suck you dry” financially. I’m an affiliate to multiple companies, but I like to use Flex Offers:
If you’ve got a ton of traveling already behind you, this may not be such a big deal, but if you don’t, get yourself out there and explore the world! You can’t write a travel blog without travel experience.
PUMP OUT THE CONTENT
But make sure it is good! No one wants to visit a blog that has poorly thrown together content. If you want visitors, you need to make sure you know what you’re talking about, write about it, and promote it. People will come back for more if they like what they’re reading. Vary your content (like I’ve done with my Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging), how, and what you write about (but stay in your niche).
Use emotion: Car Accident: Traveling Disaster
Tell your personal stories: Visiting the Oregon Trail: What if I Had Never Read That Book?
Don’t be afraid of recaps: Monthly Summary – Month 1 – May 2016
Advocate and Support Things: Pet Safety While Traveling – Dog Seat Belts
Give advice (if you know some!): Common Mistakes People Make When Planning a Road Trip
Show everyone what you’re passionate about: The Avenue of Oaks – Boone Hall Plantation
Use Humor: Which I’ve attempted to do at the beginning of the Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging (this post).
MAKE SURE YOUR READERS CAN SUBSCRIBE
If they cannot subscribe to your blog, they may never come back. Make sure you’ve made a way for them to subscribe to your blog. I use MailChimp, but you don’t have to.
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DO NOT SPAM!
Don’t just go all over peoples’ blogs, Facebook groups, Yahoo! Answers, and forums and just start listing your website and posts. If you’re going to put your link in a comment box it better add value, not just appear like you’re using them to gain visitors/page views. That’s just rude. Don’t do it. I made that mistake once or twice, even though I was really trying to add value, and was reprimanded. Save yourself that embarrassment and be extra sure before you post/comment that your links are welcome and helpful.
MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT THE RIGHT PLUG-INS
Check all of your plug-ins and make sure they add value. Do not “over stuff” your site with plug-ins that only slow it down. Try to use as few as possible, so you have to choose which ones you need and which ones add value.
COMMENT ON OTHER BLOGS
If you start commenting on other blogs, as long as it is useful, helpful, and insightful, people will start to remember you and recognize you via their website and social media. That’s a good thing! The more you network, the better your blogging career will be, but remember, this is not all about you — be caring, insightful, and helpful when posting. Don’t just scroll to the bottom and start rambling in the comment section. Those types of comments are easily recognized by the author of the post and by anyone else who reads your comment as well. The travel blogging and travel community is about making travel better, exploring places, and giving advice to the public. It is not about using others to “climb the ladder”.
READ A TON OF OTHER BLOGS
Be a good student and read read read read read.Usually, I read 5-15 posts a day from others. I do this to see how other bloggers are writing, what people’s responses are to those items, and how my writing compares to others. You learn so much about your own strengths and weaknesses when you study the strengths of others. To be a great writer, you must write, but you must also read other works.
What do you think of the Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging?
So what do you think? Is there anything in this Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging that might help you make your blog a little better? Think there’s something that should be added to the Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging? Let me know in the comments below and HAPPY TRAVELS! 🙂
*In the Beginner’s Guide to Travel Blogging, there are affiliate links. I do not post anything on my blog that I do not trust, use, or anything that I disagree with. Also, your price for the product does not change.