Diaries and journals are a thing of the past. With laptops, tablets, and smartphones on the rise, it’s rare to find a traveler without some sort of portable technology by their side. This probably explains why more and more travelers are starting their own blogs. It’s a convenient way to document your journeys, as well as share it with the rest of the world. The best travel blogs on the internet today have tens of thousands of followers, including sponsorships to help pay for the blogger’s traveling expenses. So if you are looking to start your own travel blog, here is what you’ll need to do to be successful.
It would be a tad difficult to have a travel blog if you didn’t travel often right? A good travel blogger is exploring new areas on a consistent basis. It doesn’t have to be every week or even every month, but frequently enough to maintain a blog and to keep the readers engaged. Even if you don’t have time to fly out of the country or even to another city, go visit a unfamiliar place within the city you are in. It can be something as simple as a new restaurant, beach, mountain, or historic building. Every trip you take should provide you with enough material to write about in your blog.
When you aren’t traveling, you should be thinking about the next place you want to visit. Write about your dream destination and talk about why you want to visit that place. If you don’t have the money or time to go there in the near future, then think of another realistic trip you can take. Once you have decided on a place, then write about your plans and expectations for when you go there. That way you can document your thoughts prior to visiting the place, and reflect back on them once you have actually been there and experienced it.
And if money is the reason stopping you from traveling frequently, there are ways to get around frugally. Most popular travel bloggers are known for traveling on a tight budget. Although some like to splurge by staying at nice hotels and eating at fancy restaurants, the majority of bloggers like to eat where the “locals” eat, which are usually small family-owned restaurants and street food. To get the best feel for the culture and community in that particular area, most people agree that you should eat like a local. This in turn should save you money as opposed to eating at a nice steak dinner at a nice restaurant.
Take Lots of Good Pictures
A picture is worth a thousand words. No matter how well you explain your travels in writing, pictures always add another element to your blog. You can talk about the Great Wall of China all you want, but a good, clear picture will do it more justice. Take a lot of pictures as you can never take too many. When it comes to posting pictures, however, try to refrain from posting 20 pictures of the same mountain. Just pick one or two of your best shots. Anything more than that might be overkill. Also, invest in a decent camera if you want your pictures to look good. Your smartphone may take decent quality pictures, but as a travel blogger you should always strive to do better.
To add more clarity and life to your photos, take a Photoshop course. It’s an investment that will definitely pay off in the long run. The first thing visitors of your blog will see are your pictures, and first impressions are everything when it comes to websites. Readers will take your travel blog seriously when they see all the time and effort you put into your photos.
Post About Other Topics
Your travel blog should contain more content than just your stories from traveling. Unless you are traveling around the world, there will be times when you don’t get to travel. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t update your blog. There are always other subjects to write about that relate to traveling.
One thing a lot of travel bloggers are talking about these days are deals and discounts on traveling. With the ever-growing popularity of websites such as Travelzoo, Groupon, and other online discount websites, it’s becoming easier and easier to score great deals on flights and hotel rooms. This is not only a great way to save money on your trips, but it’s also something your followers may want to read about. Write about how you saved a few hundred dollars on your flight to Paris by using a coupon code or purchasing a Groupon deal. Or if Southwest is offering its lowest prices of the year for a roundtrip flight to New York, mention that in your blog, even if you have no interest in flying there right now. And within that post, you can talk about great places to visit in New York and how to get around frugally so your readers will learn something, and may even be encouraged to take a trip themselves.
If your blog becomes very popular and well-known among the internet community, you may even be offered incentives from travel companies to promote their business. Usually in return bloggers are given free flights or discounts on various traveling expenses by the company. For example, Southwest offers free points for consumers who sign up for their credit cards. Some popular travel bloggers are given an incentive to post that credit card sign up link on their website for readers to use. This benefits both the blogger and the readers.
Nobody likes to be neglected, and your followers and readers are no exception. Check your comments section often as it will probably be filled with questions from other people. Try to answer them as honestly as you can, and try to be as patient with them as possible. Most people who post questions on travel blogs are eagerly waiting for a response, mainly because it has to do with an upcoming trip they have planned.
As you gain more followers, it will be less easier to keep up with all of the comments, but try your best. If someone asks you a question that was already answered in your post, it’s up to you then if you want to reply. Ignoring a good question from a follower of your blog could translate to one less person re-visiting your blog though.
Another great way to engage with your readers is to offer a promotion or contest to everyone. Have your audience post a traveling story, and whomever has the craziest story can win a prize such as a travel voucher, a suitcase, or anything that has to do with traveling. This way people are encouraged to participate on your blog, and this usually translates to more followers.
Look For Ways To Improve
Always look for new and creative ways to make your blog more successful. Readers might become less interested in re-visiting your page if it has the same look and feel year after year. Learn more about HTML so you can customize the format of your blog and make it stand out from others. Add new topics to your posts and use other social media outlets to attract more people to your site. If you have trouble thinking of new ideas, visit other travel blogs and see what they are doing. Just remember that it is your travel blog. Keep it original to yourself and have fun with it!