Writing a travel blog is not only a fun way to commemorate your travels, but there are multiple ways you can monetize your blog to create a secondary, and eventually a primary, source of income. If you have decided to launch a travel blog, there are many things you can do to ensure that your blog is designed for success—and attracts the attention of tourism sponsors, travel journalists, and PR companies.
Below is a step-by-step guide for how to make a successful travel blog, that will get noticed.
Step 1: Start With Research
Before you begin writing any of your content, or even selecting the name of your travel blog—you must invest some time in research. The best place to begin is by looking at the highest ranking travel blogs to date. Pay particular attention to both the travel bloggers who have achieved long-term success, as well as the newer travel bloggers that are quickly gaining momentum.
Take notes to highlight what the high-ranking travel blogs have in common, as well is what makes them unique. This includes features such as the page layout, writing style, and imagery. The goal is not to copy what other bloggers are doing—but to see what works, what doesn’t, and for overall inspiration.
Step 2: Choose A Niche
One thing you will notice when researching the most popular travel blogs is that they all have a niche that they cater to. Sometimes the niche is obvious—such as an adventure travel blog or a budget travel blog, but sometimes it will be more understated such as a travel blog geared towards women in their mid-30s.
Selecting a niche is essential for everything from marketing, selecting your keywords, determining your writing style, selecting your URL, and selecting images to place within your blog. It is also essential if you want your travel blog to gain the attention of travel professionals,—so they can gauge how well your blog speaks to their target audience.
Step 3: Select Your URL, And Create Your Website
Before you begin writing a travel blog, you must select a URL, and create your website. While you may select a URL that contains keywords your target audience will respond to—ensure that it is short and easy to recall. Also consider including your name in your URL, to further engage with your readers—or a clever and memorable arrangement of 2-4 words.
Whether you outsource your blog design or build your own blog—ensure that your blog is responsive (aka. mobile compatible), has a clean layout, and that that colors and images are visually appealing.
Step 4: Begin Networking Within The Travel Industry
Once your travel blog is complete, the pages are edited to perfection—and you have your first few posts—it is time to begin networking. The primary places you want to focus your networking efforts are with your target audience and travel professionals.
Begin first by researching who the most relevant tourism sponsors, travel journalists, and PR companies in your travel niche are. Try to get specific names and contact information for the travel professionals you find—and call or email them to introduce yourself. The goal is to build a mutually beneficial relationship, where you post on to their benefit—in exchange for travel perks and methods of monetizing your blog.
Request to schedule an in-person meeting, because face-to-face interaction is always more memorable. If the travel professionals you find are out of the area, request to video-conference—or meet in person when you are traveling in their area.
Continue to check in regularly to create an ongoing relationship with the travel professionals you meet—and follow-up after any meetings you schedule.
Don’t let the size or scale of the travel professionals you source discourage you from reaching out. While PR companies do their own analytics to help determine what travel bloggers to call—it is your responsibility to take control of your success.
You can do this by engaging in ongoing communication, sharing sponsored blogs other travel bloggers have posted, and posting free content that is beneficial to the travel professionals you are trying to attract the attention of—with the intent that it will eventually lead to monetized sponsorship.
This will take persistence, but with consistency will pay off.
While you want to connect with other travel bloggers on social media, also look for opportunities to connect with them in person. This is beneficial when it comes to guest blogging opportunities, referrals for travelers outside of their niche, and they may even be willing to provide some invaluable tips and tricks.
Offer to feature their sponsored posts on your blog, as it may be a good “in” to a travel industry professional.
Social media will play an essential role, both in marketing your travel blog to travelers, and in networking with others within the travel community. Friend and Follow as many travel professionals you can find, and post consistently to help gain more followers in your niche—and to show travel professionals your level of dedication, and ability to generate attention.
Step 5: Continue To Travel, Journal, And Add New Posts On A Regular Basis
The most important ingredient when it comes to writing a travel blog is traveling frequently enough to have something new to blog about. So that you can fully enjoy your travels, and have new materials for your blog—begin a travel journal that you can refer back to when writing your blog posts when you return home.
The structure of your posts can vary, you could break them down by “Day 1 in Florence”, Day 2 in Florence”, ect., or you can post by specific topics such as “Restaurants”, “Excursions”, or “Accommodations.” Set a goal to post several articles about each travel location, and feel free to spread them out over a week or two. Ensure that posts include the specifics that your readers are looking for, such as
- The Name of Restaurants
- What You Ordered
- The Name of The Excursion Company You Booked With
- The Name and Address of Your Hotel
- Types of Available Transportation
- Price Range for all Activities
- What to Wear
- What Time of Year You Traveled
While it is essential to post consistently, you may not be traveling at all times. Posts in-between travel can be geared towards general travel tips, niche specific travel tips, or some of your favorite travel locales.
To boost your SEO, infuse your posts (without overdoing it) with well-researched keywords—and keep an eye on what percentage of your traffic comes from keywords, social media, and external advertising.
Step 6: Cultivate Engaging Posts
Writing a travel blog will require you to do more than share general travel information, or post only a basic breakdown of your daily itinerary. In order for readers to find your blog valuable—and keep coming back, it must be both informative and engaging. Here are a few tips for making your blog more engaging.
Your Writing Style
Writing a travel blog is a personal experience, so you have much freedom when it comes to the tone of your writing. Write in an honest, positive, and conversational manner. Feel free to include humor and your unique point of view.
The goal of your blog is to inspire your readers, and get them excited about travel—and pictures and video are two of best ways to achieve this. Consider investing in a high-quality camera and/or video recording device. Each and every one of your blog posts should have at least one beautiful image of the area you are blogging about—but the more images, the better.
Seek out opportunities to conduct interviews with local residents, business owners, the Chamber of Commerce, and relevant travel industry professionals. Even if the interviews are short and sweet, it will give your visitors an insider’s look at your travel location. Interviews work two-fold, they provide you with more info for your blog—and they make you more appealing to tourism sponsors. If tourism sponsors like what they see, they may offer you free travel perks—or offer opportunities to monetize your blog.
Step 7: Explore Multiple Methods Of Monetizing Your Blog
The last few steps have focused on the ways in which you can make your blog stand out by being engaging and visually appealing—which translates into both more new traffic, and more repeat traffic. The more traffic to your blog, the more areas of opportunity you have when it comes to monetization. While your #1 target audience for monetization should be travel industry professionals, also consider:
- Google AdSense and other Pay-Per-Click options
- Selling banners and advertising space
- Charging a fee for guest blog posts (but post many for free too)
- Become an affiliate for travel-related products and businesses
On top of all of the tips above, you will need to market your blog posts—and consider posting online ads that will link back to your blog. What is essential to keep in mind when considering how to make a successful travel blog—is the overall visitor experience, which the steps above will help you to achieve.
As your visitors continue to flock to your site with regularity, professionals within the travel industry will soon follow!