Imagine quitting your job, leaving all the hassles of your current life, getting on a plane and starting fresh in a place far, far away.
You touch down, walk through the arrival gates and out into the fresh air. The sense of wonder and achievement welling in your chest. There’s new sounds, smells and sensations vibrating around you like a breeze. It’s all so new.
On some level, most of us dream of leaving the rat race behind, jumping on a plane and going somewhere exotic. But what if you could also get paid for it too? This is possible with travel blogging.
It’s exciting to think about. But there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
Pick your niche/ Find your niche
There’s tonnes of blogs out there. Almost too many! How are you going to make yours stand out?
With all these different blogs competing against one another, you need something that’s gonna get eyeballs on yours. The best way to do this is to find something (or a couple) that’s going to make your blog pop, and keep people’s attention.
This is something personal that you’re going to have to figure out on your own. You know you best. Luckily for you and your future readers, you’re unique! You have a set of experiences, skills and interests that will all go towards crafting a blog that has its own special flavour.
Set up your website
Y’know how, after stealing your mom’s credit card to pay for beer that time, she yelled at you that money doesn’t grow on trees? Yeah well, blogs don’t either!
A great blog is going to require a little legwork to get all the pisces together and posted on the web. The basic steps are:
Choose a name for your blog
This can be a bigger decision than what you think. So choose a good one! It’s going to need to be something that grabs the readers’ attention and tells them a little something about what to expect. The name is also going to be important for your branding. If your blog’s name is about travelling South America, what’s going to happen when you travel outside of that continent?
Hosting your website and choosing your platform
There are many platforms out there, but the major ones that most people use are WordPress and Squarespace.
WordPress is the most popular choice. It allows for control over every aspect of your site, which means you’re in charge of things like security and updates. A little daunting (and therefore a steep learning curve), but because it’s so well known, you can easily find people who can make the setup process easier. It’s a big responsibility, but the ultimate freedom is worth it.
Then we have Squarespace. This is a little different from WordPress in that it takes care of a lot of stuff for you like hosting, security and updates. It gives you the pisces you need, put them together however you like and then start writing. It’s super easy to use
Well, not really part of your site, but they’re going to to be an invaluable tool in driving eyeballs to your page. So this should be considered while you’re setting up your main site.
Customise your site
Now you should have all the pieces to the puzzle sorted. You just need to flesh everything out with your own unique brand and flavour.
One of the first things you should be doing is working out your branding. This involves your name (we’ve already talked about this), which should be snappy and tells the reader about you. Then it’s onto logos, themes and graphics.
Then when you have all your pretty colours and pictures figured out, it’s time to think about the layout and user experience. Think about the design of the pages, how everything looks and flows together. It’s best to start simple and clear, and build everything from there. Don’t waste your time trying to create the perfect page right off the bat, because your design will change! Now when you have the layout, you can add menu bars and other navigation tools like a category sidebar.
Let’s talk about plugins. Plugins are apps for your website that add additional features. Some are free, some are paid.
Here’s a list of some of the more useful ones:
- Akismet – Protects your blog from annoying spammers destroying your comments section.
- Yoast SEO – Very important plugin for optimizing your articles for Google search, plus integrating Google Sitemaps and Analytics.
- Easy Social Share Buttons – Sweet and simple buttons for sharing your website’s content on social media.
- WP Rocket – Caching plugin that speeds up your travel blog
- Imagify – Automatically optimizes your media library images for fast loading
Start Creating Content
Finally! We can start writing stuff! This part is less complicated than setting up the website, and way more fun!
You’ll need an ‘About page’, just to give your readers a brief summary of who you are and what the blog is aiming to do.
Writing your first blog post
The info you have on your ‘About’ page could most likely be fleshed out into something broader, more story driven. Another great way to introduce the blog and yourself to the readers.
There are many avenues you could take when deciding what to write. Think about what you have learned on your journeys that may help the reader on their next trip, or maybe you have a couple of great stories to tell, something that’ll entertain and inspire.
A Picture is worth a thousand words
Sure, you can write about all those beautiful places you’re visiting. But, just talking about these places is only going to blue ball your reader! Show them just how amazing the place is!
Upping your photography game is a no-brainer. The visual component of an amazing photo will add a tremendous amount of colour and soul to your posts. A good photo is a perfect complement to a well written blog.
You’re not going to see much growth if nobody knows about your blog. Social media is a crucial part of success when you’re making your own content.
When you started your blog, you should also have started the corresponding social media accounts, they’re important! Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are where you’re going to find a sea of readers just waiting to be directed to your blog. So how do you harness that? Well, you have to start sharing all of your posts. You know they’re great to read, so don’t hide them away. Smash that share button!
Have a dedicated posting schedule in which you add your blogs to stories and posts for friends and family to see. Utilise hashtags, get friends and family to share them and comment. When you do receive comments, reply!
Making Money Blogging
There’s a few different avenues you can explore when you want to make money. Ad revenue, affiliate programs, and donations.
Ad revenue is pretty self explanatory. You run ads for various things on your website, then you get that dolla that makes you holla. Easy right? Simple, yeah, but I wouldn’t say easy. You need to have traffic on your website before you can get ads, so build your website up, then you’ll attract advertisers.
Affiliate programs are awesome because they allow you to earn money right away. Sites such as Amazon or Booking.com support this. Basically you can recommend products on your blog, then if a customer is directed, via a tracking link, to the product and they buy it, you make a commission. You could be making commission on plugging the gear you use or the hotels you stay at. Pretty sweet deal!
Finally, you can accept donations. Youtubers and streamers do it, and so can you. Include a link or two to your Paypal or Patreon so loyal readers can support you making content.
So how much money can you make travel blogging? Well, it’s impossible to give you a solid figure on this, but in researching this article, it’s clear that it’s possible to make a living off of your blog. You just need to build your audience, easier said than done, but more readers means more money. So growth and reader retention should be top priority!
Taking your blog to the next level
You made it! Good work mate! So now you can just coast through life without a care in the world right? Well…. Not exactly. The market is pretty saturated with travel blogs, so you need to stay on top of your game and always be improving, honing your blogging prowess.
You have to be consistent. Keep that content flowing nicely, and the readers will be happy and come back again and again. Being consistent comes from being organised and having the ability to adapt and be flexible. You’re a professional traveler after all, so you’re gonna need to be flexible in all sorts of situations. The world is your office.
The most important thing: never give up!