Today’s Travel Tip comes from the dynamic blogging and traveling duo, Dave and Deb, a.k.a. @theplanetd. The are a really cool couple and buddies of mine who travel fearlessly and write passionately about the world, as seen through the eyes of two adventurous travelers. Their dedication to their blog really shines through and has inspired me to keep pushing my own to new levels. Here they are with some really helpful tips on how you can successfully run a travel blog.
It’s a very romantic notion to travel the world, while writing about it to your adoring fans and earning money at the same time. It all seems so easy. There are millions of travel blogs on the Internet and it seems like all a person has to do is visit exotic destinations, share their experiences and everyone will follow along.
If only it were that easy.
Running a travel blog is hard work. It requires a full time commitment not only to travel but to take fantastic photographs, write compelling stories and finding your unique voice. There isn’t a magic formula or quick solution to making it to the top. It is a long and slow process, but if you stick with it, you too can travel blog for a living.
Here are some steps you can take to attract a large audience to your travel blog.
1. Find a Niche – If you don’t have something that makes you stand out from the crowd you will end up like most of the travel blogs out there and have only have an audience of friends and family. Find a niche and focus on it. Are you a humour writer? Are you fascinated with religion or historical sites, are you interested in voluntourism? Find your unique voice and write about what you love.
2. Self Hosted Blog – Get rid of that blogger.com or wordpress.com blog. There are many technical reasons why you should invest the small amount of money it takes to host your blog but it also looks more professional. I don’t take a blog seriously that has domain name that looks like this. www [dot] nameofblog [dot] wordpress.com. Start looking like a serious blogger right off the top.
3. Write compelling and unique content – Write posts that people want to read targeted to your niche. Be original. You may want to provide information about destinations or maybe you want people to come to your blog because you have strong opinions and you want to generate a discussion. People will come back because they want to hear your thoughts and opinions. The great bloggers are passionate about what they write about, will defend their points of view and love every minute of it.
4. Be Consistent – Be consistent when posting content. Make a schedule and stick to it. Do you want to post twice a week or five times a week? It doesn’t matter what you choose, just be consistent. Remember quality over quantity. If you want to post often, make sure you have the commitment and content to keep people’s attention. It is worse to put up poor quality content than no content at all.
5. Attractive Website – Blogging is a visual medium and people browse the Internet looking for something that will catch their eye. You need to attract their attention quickly or readers will move on. Whether it be with photographs, titles and headers or using colour you need to find a way to grab the reader instantly. Internet surfers have a short attention span and if you blog doesn’t look good they won’t read what you have to say even if it is the most important content in the world. Design a blog that conveys your personality and make your content easy to read.
6. Create Links and build Relationships – Approach other bloggers to be added to their blog roll. It is an excellent way to introduce yourself to the popular bloggers and to start building friendships. Link building is a very important aspect of blogging. When writing a post, link to blogs you admire and use them as an example in your article. They will see the pingback from you and come to check out your site. If you have compelling and interesting content, they will probably come back regularly and possibly mention your blog in on of their posts in the future with a link back.
7. Guest post – Write for as many people as you can. Gaining exposure is very important. If people don’t know you exist, they won’t come to your site. Search for travel websites that accept guest posts, read their guidelines and submit a query or email them and ask if you could write for them. You will be amazed with how many travel blogs and websites accept guest posts. We do.
8. Harness the Power of Social Media– Create a Facebook Fanpage and Twitter account. Start building your friends and followers early. We receive a lot of traffic from social networking sites. Engage with your fans, ask them questions and in return answer theirs. A large and engaged following adds to your credibility as an influencer.
9. Make Sharing Content Easy – Social Media is becoming more important each day. Have buttons on your blog that make it easy for people to post your article to Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, GoogleBuzz or whatever social bookmarking site they prefer. If they like what you have to say, they may want to share it so make it easy for them. People don’t want to take the time of having to open another site and manually insert your post. If you have a like button right beside it, they can quickly give you a like on facebook and move on.
10. Put in the Time– Many a successful travel blogger will tell you that they spend many hours a day blogging. Running a successful blog is much more than simply putting up a post a day and hoping people will come. Hours can be filled up with social networking, writing guest posts for other websites, seeking out advertisers, moderating comments and tweaking the look of the site. We are constantly evolving and changing our websites design to suit our needs. We are regularly looking for new ways to promote ourselves. We never turn down an opportunity to write for a site and we support as many of our fellow bloggers as we can by promoting their websites.
Like most things in life, the more you give, the more you receive. The same can be said for Travel Blogging.
About this week’s Guest writers:
Dave and Deb are a Canadian blogging couple who have been married for 13 years. In that time they have managed to hike, bike, paddle and climb their way across 5 continents and 45 countries. They have built a large following at their adventure travel website ThePlanetD attracting the attention of media campaigns where they have taken part in the Rocky Mountain Adventure Drive with General Motors, were selected for the Princess Cruises “Follow Me At Sea” Twitter Cruise, Blogged from Paradise with the St. Kitts Marriott and most recently joined Fiji’s Influencer tour as a part of their FijiMe Campaign. Dave and Deb consistently rank among the top 10 in the world’s most influential travel bloggers and websites.