Something big has been happening in the freelancing world for a couple of years now.
People of all ages and from all walks of life are writing blogs, building an entire business online, and traveling at the same time.
Who would have thought that mere blobs of text would turn out to be so lucrative?
This is where travel blogs come into the game!
You love you travel? Well, who can blame you!
Then turn this passion into a money-making business and start your own travel blog.
Now the question is: how will you start a travel blog?
Building a website and writing about your travel adventures is not nearly enough…especially if you want to grow your blog into a six-figure website.
But fret not, this guide on how to start a travel blog will help you get started with your own blog right away.
Should You Even Start a Travel Blog?
Before making a rushed decision, ask yourself: why do you want to start a travel blog in the first place?
When people see other travel websites online, they only see pretty photos, spell-binding locations, and exciting life. However, the reality is somewhat different.
Starting your own travel blog and scaling it to greater heights is not as easy as it seems. Travel bloggers often work for hours on end without any break.
From marketing to the promotion of your blog, there is so much to do. So before you build your website, just evaluate whether you would be willing to do all this.
With this out of our way, another question that plagues beginners today is whether it is too late to start your own travel blog now. It seems as if every other person today is a travel blogger. However, it is also worthy to note that only a few of them are actually worth looking up to and the majority is still not doing it professionally — there’s still a lot of room in this domain to grow and expand your blog.
Set Up Your Blog The Right Way
First and foremost, if you really want to make money with your travel blog, then you have to take your blog seriously. Don’t consider your blog as writing blobs of text about your travelling adventures. Take some time setting it up and make it look professional right from the start.
Don’t just think of incorporating ads with your blog posts and but consider adding to your income using affiliate links, promotions, and more.
It might seem like a lot of work initially but once you get started, it will not only help you reap attractive profits but also help you feed into your passion for traveling.
Just the prospect of lying on an exotic Maldives beach, sipping Pina Colada, and earning money while you are at it must be enough for you to consider this profession. Being an ardent traveler is like the cherry on the top. A couple of years ago, when this industry was just in an early stage, this would have been the perfect way to go about blogging. However, things have changed now drastically so to really ‘make it’ as a travel blogger, make sure that you start from the initial point.
Let me show you how.
1. Choose Your Niche
What’s a niche?
I thought ‘travel blogging’ is my niche!
While ‘travel’ blogging is indeed a niche but it is more lucrative if you laser-target your niche.
Let me be blunt here: like beauty and lifestyle blogging, travel blogging is a pretty saturated domain. Therefore, it’s better if you start by choosing a more narrowed down niche for your travel blog. The key here is to stand out from the norm and countless other travel bloggers that are already available on the internet.
Choosing a more specific niche is also best when you look at it from the SEO perspective.
Let’s have a look at some of the travel blogging sub-niches that you can choose from.
Travel Blogging Sub Niches
The idea is simple: you want to start a travel blog because you love traveling but to make it big in this industry your blog needs to be focused on something specific.
Also, remember that no matter what you choose is truly unique.
That said, what will make your intended niche unique is your own distinctive voice. But when it comes to choosing a niche for your travel blog, there’s another key question that you should be asking yourself.
“Would my audience love to read about it?”
In the end, it’s your audience that is going to read your blogs, view your photographs, or buy your product. So make sure that you select a niche that people are interested in knowing about.
Apart from this, before you select a niche, ask yourself some important questions, such as:
- Why do I really want to blog?
- What is the topic I can write for hours on end?
- What are the areas that I would like to explore?
Here are some of the travel blogging sub niches to help you select a perfect one for your travel blog:
- Solo travel
- Solo female travel
- Family travel
- Adventure travel
- Budget travel
- Luxury travel
- City-focused travel
- Country-focused travel
- Business travel
So these are some of the travel sub-niche options that you can try out for your own blog.
If there is something else you are particularly interested, then you can explore that niche as well. Just don’t forget to analyze your target audience beforehand and check whether it is something more people would be interested in knowing about.
Select Your Blog And Domain Name
Since the internet is inundated with thousands of travel bloggers, it is imperative to stand out of the norm.
For that, you need to follow some important branding principles. You might think that you will consider branding further down the lane after you are done setting up your whole blog. But before you decide your domain name and start building your blog layout, you need to decide how you are going to actually set up everything.
Let’s see why branding is so important.
Ever wondered how certain brands are instantly recognized for little things. For instance, Apple has such a distinctive logo that you can easily tell it apart from its counterparts.
Thus, if you want to find success in your blogging endeavor, then you have to find a distinctive identity that sets you apart from your competitors.
Here are some useful branding tips for your travel blog name:
Choose a unique name: Names like Adventurous [your name], Globetrotter [your name], Backpacking [your name], and so forth, have already been done to death. It is highly unlikely that you will now find any success with them. After all, who would remember Globetrotter George when some other travel blogger is already popular with the name Globetrotter John.
Consider a long-term view: Don’t pick a name like “The Twenty-Year-Old Traveller”. This way you are putting a limitation on your travel blogging career. Of course, you are not going to be Twenty-year old after a year. It’s better to think of a name that will continue to stay relevant further down the lane.
Choose a classy name: Again, consider a long-term view. For now, you are just a beginner with no audience but eventually, you are going to get famous. That’s the goal, right? When the time comes you will be pitching your business cards to prospective travel agencies and will also be invited to popular panels. So, keep your name classy and appropriate for such settings.
Select a concise URL that is easy to remember: It’s better to avoid a site name that has more than four-five words. I’d also recommend against using hyphens in your website name and site URL. Make sure that your url is as crisp as possible and extremely easy to remember.
Only select the .com domain name: There is no hard and fast rule that you have to select only the .com domain name. However, people have become so used to .com domain name websites that they have now become habitual of searching for this extension.
All in all, select a brand name that will last a lifetime, literally. Don’t associate yourself to a certain age group, or length of the trip. Your brand name should be a perfect blend of creativity, class, and concision.
Buy a Premium Travel Theme
Congratulations are in order, it seems. You are much closer to your dream now.
If you are at this step, then it means that you have already selected a name, and your brand’s logo, sub-niche.
After this, you have set up your WordPress site using a web hosting service of your choice.
Now is the time to make your website pretty.
Luckily, WordPress comes with attractive pre-built themes that you cause on a fly, without even being privy to the technical know-how. Your theme will decide how web-visitors will navigate on your website and how it reacts to your audience.
Although WordPress offers free themes, it is better if you avoid them altogether. Such themes come with many restrictions that make it hard to customize them to incorporate any additional feature. And in the end, your travel blog will end up looking a lot like other travel blogs.
If you want to make it look distinctive and different from the herd, then buy a premium travel theme.
Most premium themes are priced around $50-$100, for lifetime use. The best part is that you can tweak them as per your wish and according to your goals. As a result, you have more flexibility and your website functions with more agility and offers more functionalities to your audience.
Buying a premium theme is a lot like investing in your business. And your travel blog takes off, the benefit will be way more than what you spent initially for your premium travel theme.
Here are some of the benefits of buying a premium WordPress theme for your travel blog:
- Simple drag and drop features to customize your website
- You can make your travel blog unique
- Website design looks clean and professional
- It is easier to navigate
- Offers you more flexibility
The possibilities of buying a customizable website do not end with premium WordPress themes. So many successful bloggers and freelancers get their websites custom-designed by professional developers. It is way more expensive than buying a premium theme but the flexibility and customization capacity that it affords is well worth the price.
However, it is better to go with a regular premium theme at this stage in your travel blogging career.
When you see your blog getting popular and having more audience, then you can consider your options.
Once you measure your traffic, profitability and other metrics, then invest in a custom-designed website. Depending upon your design and expectations, they can cost anything from $500-$10,000.
Increase Your Travel Blog’s Functionality with WordPress Plugins
Plugins are, without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of your travel blog or any other blog for that matter.
In simple terms, plugins add functionality to your blog and help you achieve more. There are hundreds and thousands of plugins available on WordPress that are easy to install and incorporate in your website. These plugins not only help you perform certain tasks but are also come in handy when you want to make your blog look exactly the way you want.
The good news is that you don’t have to pay a single dime to install them and use their standard features. They are absolutely FREE of cost!
However, it is not a great idea to go overboard with these plugins. Make sure to install the ones that you absolutely need. If there’s a plugin that you can do without, then avoid installing it. They are easy to use and install, but they increase the load on your website and makes it a little bit slower.
Here are some of the plugins that you definitely want to install:
1. Akismet: your website is going to get flooded with so many spammy comments that you are eventually going to lose sight. In such cases, Akismet comes in handy. This plugin keeps all the spammy comments out of your sight by catching them and deleting them automatically.
2. Yoast SEO: If you want to scale up your travel blog, then you can’t afford to ignore SEO. And this is where Yoast SEO comes into the game. This free WordPress plugin helps you optimize your webpages and blog posts for search engines effortlessly using a few quick steps.
3. MonsterInsights: It is important to keep track of certain metrics to have an idea of how your travel blog is performing. MonsterInsights helps you track your page views, audience behavior, and more.
4. Social Media Sharing Buttons: You will find plenty of plugins that will allow your audience to share your blog posts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more. The more shares you get, the more web traffic you will get.
5. Interactive World Maps: It is a great plugin for travel blogs. It displays a beautiful map on your site to depict the places you have traveled to. However, it is a paid plugin so you can install it once you are more successful and start to capitalize on your travel blog.
While you are at it, don’t forget to backup your website from time to time. Professional travel bloggers tend to hire technicians to do maintain and update their plugins and keep consistent backups of their website.
This is something that might not be possible for you right now. So, for now, do your research and find the best ways to take backup for your website.
Get Started With Content Creation
At present, you are like a small fish in an expansive sea.
Your travel blog isn’t perfect. Don’t fret over it!
As you continue to grow, you can make iterations to your website.
You have set up your blog, now start with content creation right away.
For starters, create an engaging “About Us” page and post at least three blog posts. So, when people visit your website, they will have something to read and know of your presence.
But before that you need to decide…what will you write about?
I know you have already selected a sub-niche for your blog. But again, what topics will you cover? Where do you start?
Don’t hold back when writing your about page.
Your About Page is important because it not only compels your audience to browse through your website but it is most often the most visited page on your site.
So don’t just write a generic About Us page. Put some personality in it, share your life story and what compelled you to start your own travel blog. Your About page should be inspiring enough so that your audience starts following you right away.
What to Write About
Writing a blog post right from scratch can be a bit daunting. But remember practice makes perfect. So, just start writing. Write just about anything, especially when you are not traveling.
You have picked a sub-niche, right? Good! This means that you already know who your target audience is.
So, before you start writing a blog post, just think about how you can help out your target audience. What tips can you provide that will make their travel journey easy and hassle-free? The goal is to write for your target audience so choose all your topics keeping your target audience in mind.
For instance, you might want to talk about what you did on your 3-day trip to the Bahamas, but is it something that your target audience would be interested in? Why would they even care about what you did and how much you enjoyed?
Avoid this practice — don’t talk about yourself. Talk about your audience. Rather than what you did, if you write a recommended itinerary, then your audience is likely to find it much more useful.
It’s basically the same blog post, just worded and framed differently.
One key to find success in blogging is by being consistent.
Mind you, I don’t mean that you have to publish content daily.
Choose a schedule and make sure that you stick to it. For instance, if you decide to publish every Wednesday and Thursday of the week, then make sure that you don’t miss even a single day.
Also, don’t forget that quality matters more than quantity. Create valuable, long-form posts with important takeaway points for your audience.
Be Conversational, Show Your Personality
Your travel blog is like your own personal space. You don’t have to be Hemingway or Shakespeare to craft engaging blog posts.
Don’t write bland content that ends up looking like something out of a history book. Show your personality, make it witty and conversation to connect with your readers on a personal basis.
Use Beautiful & Quality Images
Travel blogging has a lot to do with visual aesthetics. So make sure to know your way around a camera.
The more attractive images you will add in your blog, the more outreach you will have. It is easier to tell your travel story with images than textual content and it is also a great option for people who tend to skim down the pages without reading the actual content.
Images are also a way to stay real and relatable. If you are skeptical of showing your real life or your face in your images, then I’m afraid to travel blogging is not for you. It would be pretty difficult to build a community and a loyal audience-base if you do not engage your readers with personal, quality images.
Promote Your Blog
If you want to scale up your travel blog, you have to build your audience. There is no doubt about it.
But to do that, you have to get your content out there and spread the word around.
You have to promote your blog and persuade your targeted audience to visit your site and eventually subscribe to your blog.
Here are some important tips to promote your travel blog:
1. Create a Catchy Heading
When you promote your blog posts on social media channels or use SEO strategies to make them rank on search engines, your headings are the first thing that people will see.
Naturally, the more persuasive and attractive your headings are, the more people will click on them to read the full blog.
But don’t use clickbait terms in your quest to pique your audience’s interest, it will impinge on your blog’s reputation.
Your heading should not only be engaging but also align with your main blog content.
2. Social Sharing
I know, I know.
You already know this.
But — merely sharing your blog post on social media channels is not enough.
Create an anecdotal status to post with your blog, something that will not only help your audience but also put a smile on their face. Or you can include an attractive image along with the blog, something that will easily compel them to open your blog post.
Another great way of getting more shares and readers is by sharing your blog post in social media groups in your niche. You will find like-minded people in these groups hence the chances of getting more readers get higher.
3. Build an Email-list
Many travel bloggers tend to overlook this step when it comes to promoting their blog.
It may come as a surprise to you, but email marketing is way more effective than social media marketing.
Send out automated email newsletters to your subscribers to inform them whenever you post a new blog. This eventually leads to increased blog traffic and a much more loyal audience base.
Mailchimp is a great tool to start off with email marketing for your new travel blog. And it’s completely free until you get 2,000 subscribers for your email list, which will take time to do.
Monetize Your Travel Blog
Eventually, your goal is to make money out of your travel blog.
All the efforts that you put in until now are going to bear fruit. Many bloggers recommend building a large audience first, but it is not as necessary.
There are plenty of ways to monetize your to start earning a decent income from your travel blog, such as:
1. Google Adsense
Adsense is the first option that people consider most of the times and it’s exceedingly easy to implement. You just have to sign up for an Adsense account and wait for the approval. Once your account gets approved, place the Ad-banners in your blog and then you are good to go.
If you have a hard time placing the Ads manually, then install the Quick Adsense plugin. It will place the Ad code anywhere in your site, without any hassle.
With Adsense, you can earn up to $1 per 1000 website visitors. This doesn’t sound like a great deal but works out fine when you start to get high traffic.
2. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is great for beginners who want to get started with affiliate marketing. Whenever you mention a product in your blog, just search for that product through Amazon Associates and add that link in your blog. When someone buys that product through your link, you will receive an assigned commission on that sale.
Listicles, in-depth reviews and lengthy guides are a great option for monetizing your blog through Amazon Associates.
Some Amazon links will help you earn as much as $100 for each sale. So try writing detailed reviews or listicles and get them rank first in search engines and you will earn a decent income before you further grow your blog.
3. Other Affiliate Programs
As your blog starts to take off, you can then incorporate affiliate links in your posts and earn a sizeable income. While I’d recommend against using tons of affiliate links within a single post, but there is no harm in incorporating some profitable as well as useful links in your blog.
For your travel blog, some popular affiliate programs include World Nomads, Agoda, Booking.com, and so forth. For instance, you can add links like Agoda when mentioning the hotels you have stayed in and make money whenever any one of your readers click the link and follow through your recommendation.
But make sure that you actually make use of these products and services on your own before recommending them to your audience. If you hate a product or service yourself, then don’t recommend them to your audience just to make money off that link.
4. Turn Your Blog Into a Business
You can also use your travel blog as a platform to sell something. For instance, you can sell products like travel guides and ebooks, offer consulting services, art, photography, and so forth.
But give it some time and wait for your blog to generate some traffic. Once you position yourself as an influencer in your industry, then people will be more inclined to purchase your product.
Important Things To Consider
If you follow through all the above-mentioned points, your travel blog is probably up and running by now. But it is just the starting — you still have a long way to go. To achieve real success, you have to consider some important things.
What you do from here will define the success of your travel blog.
Follow through the following points to grow your travel blog and generate massive traffic.
1. Create quality content
Isn’t it obvious? Of course, you would have to create quality content — isn’t it a given?
The problem is that everyone’s idea of quality content is different.
But your goal is to develop a reputation for creating great content in your niche and establish yourself as an influencer.
For that, you need to constantly create content that connects with your audience. Write in a manner that makes your audience feel as if you are writing specifically for them and not for search engine rankings.
Moreover, include visual content in your blog posts. Create videos, webinars, infographics, and explainers to grab more eyeballs and get more shares.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
While it is great that you are busy creating quality content for your audience, but no matter how great your content is, it won’t reach your audience or make you money unless you optimize to rank in search engines.
After all, what’s the point in creating the content that doesn’t even get discovered by people you are creating it for?
To optimize your content for search engine rankings, consider the following points:
- Write H2 headings
- Include appropriate images
- Incorporate important keywords in your content
- Build backlinks
- Start guest posting to get quality links and traffic
3. Build Authority in Your Industry
You can sit at home and still write travel blogs. It is not much difficult to curate important information and tidbits and then start off with the writing process.
You can optimize that content for search engine and even get traffic from web surfers, but you are unlikely to influence someone beyond that.
But if you want to build real authority in your industry, then you would have to get out and travel and then create content based on your travel experiences. If you fail to do it, then don’t bother thinking beyond Adsense monetization.
No one is asking you to live like a nomad, but take whatever niche you are focusing on seriously. People are not enthralled by what you write, but by your skills in your industry. Thus, you should do something that would show your expertise in your intended niche.
4. Take Travel Photography Course
Anyone can handle a DSLR and click photos these days, but it takes more than pressing the shutter button to become a pro. Since you are now stepping foot in the realm of travel blogging, being an amateur won’t cut it for you anymore. Join a short photography course that will teach you how to click travel photographs like a pro.
5. Join Professional Travelling Associations
Once your blog is up and running for some years and you are a known name in your industry, you can try applying for membership in certain professional traveling associations. They will not only prove your credibility in your niche but also elevate you to the higher rank.
For North Americans, SATW is a nice option, if you are in the UK, you can try to join British Guild of Travel Writers, and if you are an Australian, there is the Australian Society of Travel Writers.
But only a few travel bloggers, that are at the top of their profession, are allowed to join these groups. So you would have to first work hard in order to achieve this feat before applying for their membership.
Tips & Tricks to Become a Star Travel Blogger
Travel blogging is not all rose and sunshine — it is just like any other profession that requires hard work and dedication.
But there are some tips and tricks that will make your life easier.
Let’s have a look at some great travel blogging tips.
Write About Your Travel Plans
There is a certain misconception among some travel bloggers, especially amongst beginners.
They think that travel blogging only entails walking your audience through your travel journey. But to make your travel blog more relatable, you should also show how you plan out your whole trip.
Write about how you are saving money for your next trip, or how you decide which place to travel next or maybe a list of recreational activities you are planning to cover.
You can also share all the things you already know about the place you are visit next.
And once you actually visit the place in person, you can then discuss with your readers what turned out to be wrong and what turned out to be perfectly right.
Share all these tidbits with them. You will be helping them plan a trip as well.
This will also build a more personal connection with your audience, something that will make them your loyal audience.
Network With Other Bloggers
Other bloggers in your industry don’t have to be your rivals. You can collaborate with them on a video or a podcast, which will give you exposure to a whole new set of audience.
You can also draw inspiration from other successful bloggers and engage them by commenting on their blog posts. Also, link to other travel bloggers in your blog posts. They might even return the favor and link one of your blog posts in exchange.
Consider becoming an active member of travel groups online or join a popular travel forum.
This travel blog guide gave you a quick rundown of how to get started and scale up your travel blog. Now it’s up to you how you follow through these steps.
A lot of people give up before even taking the first step. Some of them are skeptical of not finding success because they think it is hard to attract an audience when too many blogs are already available on the internet, while some of them are afraid that blogging will take up a lot of their time without any substantial returns.
But you can overcome all these reservations by working with consistency. If you offer value to your target audience and do something unique, you will, no doubt, find great success.
Moreover, your story is always going to be different. So you don’t worry about offering something that is already present.
Just find a way to tell your story in such a way that even your target audience gets to learn something from it.
So hop in.
Use the above-mentioned tips and points and create your own travel blog today!