If you’re thinking of starting a travel blog, there’s never been a better time. Even better, you’re probably wondering how to make money as a travel blogger. You don’t have to have a journalism degree to get started. So why not start living your dream?
Some of the best travel sites out there started on a whim and grew through determination. If you want to be successful as a travel writer, make sure you start on the right foot. Keep reading our step-by-step guide.
Create your brand
This is a critical step to creating a long-running site. In essence, it’s a two-part project:
First, figure out your niche and pick an appropriate theme. If you go too broad in focus, you’ll easily get lost in the jumble. Yes, it’s good to expand your horizons. But if you start too general it could be hard to gather an audience. So what really interests you about travel? Are you also a foodie or a hiker? What about your unique demographic? You can use any of these things to find or create your niche.
Next, make a name for yourself. The mistake a lot of content creators make is here. Don’t choose a name based on description only. Don’t choose a name that dates itself either. So, Jen Travels 2018, would be a poor choice. Unless of course, you only plan on your travel blogging career lasting a year. Not likely. So choose something there’s unique and personal to you.
Set up your domain
It sounds intimidating, but it isn’t. A word to the wise:
Invest in your own domain name.
There are more than enough reasons to convince you to get your own domain. First, it’s easier for your audience to find you. And it comes off as a lot more professional. With your own domain, you won’t have to direct people to go to another domain/yourname.
If you’re new to website making and domains, a good hosting provider can make it easy when you set up your site.
We recommend using WordPress on Bluehost. Many people (including me) use WordPress due to its ease of use. They have affordable plans and include your own domain name for free. Plus, they offer a lot of helpful support for beginners.
Set up your blog
Now that you’ve got your domain, it’s time to put yourself out there:
Before anything else, let your readers get to know you. Your ‘about’ page can determine whether or not you get a reader hooked. Pick a good theme; there are free themes available or you can go for a premium theme. Set up your plugins and Yoast SEO. Pay attention to Google Analytics and learn to use it.
Then, it’s time to post material. Your posts are travel-related, right? So let this section be about you. Dedicated audiences want to feel a connection to you, so let your voice come out. Keep it professional, but don’t shy away from the true you.
Your first blog post
No pressure right? Don’t worry if you haven’t climbed Everest yet. Use this first blog post to talk about your passions and how you came to start the blog. Much like the about page, you want to be engaging. So work on making that first connection memorable.
TV networks have this down to a science. Think about your travel blogging as an episodic publication. Like the television series you’re addicted to, the viewer wants to know when to expect the next episode. It’s a good idea to make yourself a posting schedule. Whether you decide to post weekly or on certain days, keep at it. Consistency will help build your site, but not if you sacrifice quality in the process.
How to Find Readers Interested in Travel
Start with SEO content
New content creators may be a little confused about this part. But it’s an easy and worthwhile part of building a site. SEO is search engine optimization, and it’s how readers will find you in a search. When you’re writing your content, be mindful of terms your potential audience is searching. This doesn’t need to be a guess and check process:
There are tools to help you find the right keywords to include. Google Adwords Keyword Tool is one of the better-known tools, and it’s a favorite for writers. Use this, and you can create content that your travel niche audience looks for.
Use social media as a tool
Social media is a huge magnet for travel fans. It’s a great way to expand your audience and get your name out. The other bonus with social media is its sharability. With one click a reader can help you reach hundreds of others.
Use your profiles to promote your travel blog. Insert links to your site in your bio sections so people know where to get more. Enlist family and friends to help promote your content. When people know you, they’re more likely to help promote you.
Find the social media platforms the best support your travel content. It’s far better to start small on one or two platforms than to overdo it. Just like with your travel site, be consistent when you provide content.
The other big bonus with social media is networking. Find like-minded groups to join and interact with. When you do, your name is showing up more. Plus you’ll have a support system backing you up.
Be an active participant
When you join online communities, you’ll find other content creators you can relate to. So speak up! Simple comments like ‘cool article’ are nice. But they’re not particularly helpful. Think about the kind of feedback and commentary you’d like to receive. Others feel the same way.
Providing good commentary can build your audience and professional image. Wherever you’re networking, show the same expertise you do on your site. Conversations turn out to be a good promotion.
Attract Readers Interested in Travel Who Are Already Online
Social media is your gold mine here. There are already streams of followers looking for content. You can take this potential and turn it into a lot of subscribers.
Like breeds like
Find channels that inspire you. Follow profiles that you feel have the same impact on readers that you want to grow. Always be original, but don’t be afraid to connect with similar travel bloggers. If you’re drawn to a successful content creator, see where else they’re present. All the audiences following across platforms are ripe for picking.
Social media is great because it connects you to like-minded people. When you follow an account, you also see other followers and groups. Which means you’re automatically connected and recommended to potential readers.
Use your stream to grab an audience
Social media can give readers a bite-size taste of your persona. Make the most of a little space to grow your blog. A lot of your audience can come from people wanting to know more about what you have to say. Post relevant information and give viewers a taste of your voice.
What Kind of Things Do Successful Travel sites Do?
It sounds obv, ous right? But successful travel bloggers live for what they do. The best travel sites would keep running even if they had zero in their audience. It’s because they love it. That enthusiasm in their posts isn’t exaggerated. If you’re not passionate about it, it’s not going to work. When you’re excited, so is your audience.
Run it like a business (If that’s what you want it to be)
If you want to make a living through your site, treat it like a business. Because that’s what it is. Treat content creation like the job you want it to be.
Successful writers see their content as a commodity. Just like with any business, you need to produce a product people want.
As a writer, you’ll be your own biggest asset. And what do businesses do with their greatest assets? They enrich and invest in them. So if you want to take a course to sharpen up, go for it. You don’t have to spend big bucks to invest in yourself though. Often enough the investment is in time and effort. There are heaps of tutorials to guide you through any new skill you want to advance yourself.
They email and keep in touch with their audience
Newsletters and email marketing can be really good for bloggers when done right! The best travel bloggers know they need to keep connected with their audience. Email marketing software is invaluable to successful blogs for a few reasons:
Remind readers to check back for posts they may have missed. Some software supports RSS feeds, which is a big bonus. You can choose to update them one post at a time, or after every few.
It Tailors the Experience to Individual Readers:
Most CRM and email marketing software tracks contact habits. This means you can sort your email list to broadcast effective messages. By seeing what your contacts engage with you send only what they want to see.
It Makes Everything Easier:
If the software integrates with social media, connections are that much easier. Most programs include more than just email send outs. The analytics you get are a major factor in growing your travel blog. Some programs even allow event coordination and live broadcast.
My favorite email management app is ConvertKit because it was designed specifically with those in mind and allow you to organize your contacts, newsletters, and email blasts really easily.
How to Make Money as a Travel Blogger
Here’s how to have your cake and eat it too. (Preferably while traveling somewhere fantastic.) First, realize that this isn’t a get rich overnight scheme. If you want to make money as a travel blogger, you have to be in it for the long haul. For travel aficionados, this isn’t a problem, it’s a solution.
Make the most of ads
Advertising revenue is one of the most common ways travel bloggers make money. To be able to post ads however, you need to have your own domain. At first, this won’t add up to much. This is because ad revenue is based on traffic, and new blogs won’t get much from that. Remember, this is a long haul job and you’ll be glad for the ads later. Google Ads is a common tool bloggers use to get started. When you use a hosting platform, many also offer tools to help you gain ad revenue.
Affiliate posts and marketing
You can make commission writing about what you love. You don’t need to make the whole post about Product A. If you use it and like it give an honest recommendation. The easiest way to begin is joining an affiliate network. Amazon and eBay Enterprise are the most known, but you can find the right one for you. After you’re established, you may find affiliates come to you rather than vice versa. Remember to be genuine. Your audience is taking your advice because they like and trust you.
Use your talents
When you’re a travel blogger, all kinds of opportunities present themselves.
Are you a good photographer? Eye-catching visuals are a huge part of travel blogging. That’s great for self-promotion, but you can sell them too. Stock photos can be a solid source of passive income. Or, you can use one of many networks connecting businesses with freelance photographers. If you want to keep your photo rights to yourself, you can publish a travel book. Use the many platforms available to turn your photography into products for sale.
Travel blogging already centers around writing, so maximize that income. You can write promotional pieces, briefs, or freelance. If you’d like to create more for yourself, you can market your own book. If you’re a great storyteller, try creating an anthology as you travel.
If you’re an engaging speaker, try your hand at videos. You can create separate videos or vlog (video blog) posts and monetize them. Once you’ve built a solid reputation, you may even get requests from sponsors. Create video traveling guides to add to your blog and funds.
If you want a successful travel site, commit yourself and go all out. Take it as a full-time job and don’t forget to do social media promotion (facebook Instagram, etc). It is possible to make money as a travel writer. And you’ll find some sweet perks along the way. To grow your brand and blog, use every resource. Invest in yourself to build your business for the future. When you love to write and travel, the hardest part is deciding where to go.