The sky unfolds above you in a show-stopping display of pinks and oranges. The waves crash loudly on the shore. They almost drown out the sound of the gong from the sound bath coming from the beach outside your balcony.
You uncross your ankles to lean forward and take a sip of your drink. Garnished with a slice of star fruit, it is deliciously frosty. Reclining again, you recross your ankles and turn again to your work.
Wait — your work?
You thought this was a vacation scene, didn’t you?
If this sounds like the type of office you’d like to spend your working days in, it’s not a bad idea to consider starting a travel blog.
Yes! This could be you! When your work is writing a successful travel blog, you can take your job anywhere. In fact, traveling is your job.
Why Start a Travel Blog
A travel blog can be a wonderful way to share information with people about your favorite places. If you love writing, have a passion for exploring, and are looking for a way to make it all work financially, a well-maintained travel blog can be a great way to fund your globetrotting.
Because a blog is hosted online, your ‘office’ is not limited to, well, an office. You can write from the beach, from a hammock, a hostel bunk bed, a boat, a tent!… the world is your oyster. In fact, you should write from these places: the only way to write a convincing and successful travel blog is to travel.
In this article, we break down the best way to get your travel blog up and running, and give some helpful tips on how to keep it fresh.
How to start a travel blog?
The first thing you will want to decide on is what you are going to write about. “Travel” is a very general and very broad category. In order to attract readers to your blog, you need to find a way to make your content unique.
If you already have some niche interests, now is the time to make them work for you! For example, if you are an environmentally conscious traveller, your experiences and recommendations for others who share that mentality will be a great place to start. Or perhaps you really love a particular era of architecture? Maybe you travel to visit famous places mentioned in your favourite books. Your jumping-off point can be whatever it is that you feel sets you apart.
Remember: where you start doesn’t have to be where you stay. Once you have established a theme for your blog and written some solid posts within your area of expertise, you can start to grow. Grow your topics list, and watch your audience grow with it!
Name your new blog
Once you have your niche, you need to find a great name for your blog. Our Blog Name Generator can help you if you’re stuck for inspiration. One tip we can give you is this: whatever name you decide on, use it on all of your platforms! If all of your social media accounts use a consistent name, they will all lead to your travel blog. It’s a nice, professional touch, which will help bring readers to you.
Finding a ‘home’ for your blog
Ready? Let’s start by finding a blogging site. There are quite a few popular ones that many people rely on, but here we are going to focus on only 3:
- WordPress should be a familiar name: it is the most popular free blogging site out there. You do not need to know anything about programming to set up a WordPress.com blog. Simply write your content and decide how you want the page to look. A very user-friendly drag-and-drop page builder makes it easy to make the blog of your dreams. WordPress has a ton of free (and even more paid!) templates that will give you the look you want. They provide hosting, but if you have the know-how and want a little more hands-on management of your blog, www.wordpress.org is for you. For help on the hosting end, Bluehost (Bluehost) comes strongly recommended.
Want to know more about WordPress.com, check our WordPress.com review.
- Medium. They have the widest audience to help you gain a following. BUT they don’t allow you to host off of their platform, which won’t matter to most new blog writers. However, if you’re established somewhere else, or are interested in broadening your site in the future, this may be limiting for you.
- Wix is another simple one-stop-shop for new bloggers to get started. Because it includes hosting and provides beautiful templates to get you started, all you need to do is write!
Want to know more about Wix Website Builder and Wix Web Hosting, check our Wix Logo Maker and Wix Website Builder reviews.
What do I need to become a successful travel blogger?
First and foremost, the most important weapon in your blogging arsenal is a computer. A laptop is obviously ideal, as they are portable and easy to stow. The newest crop of laptops are fast, powerful and fairly hardy when it comes to being taken on the road.
One extremely crucial skill that the most successful travel bloggers have mastered is the use of visuals. To truly have total control of the look and feel of your page, you will want to have total control of the images you use. Whether you invest in a good camera or simply use your smartphone, you should consider lighting. A portable ring light will help you get consistent lighting for your selfies and ‘talking head’ videos.
Once you’ve got those, a hard-wearing suitcase, and a good capsule wardrobe, you are ready to get out there and start traveling! As you grow your blog, you may want to look into tripods, or even microphones if you find yourself making lots of videos.
What to write about on your travel blog?
OK! So, you’re all set up with a name, an eye-catching blog page, and some equipment, now…what to write about?
One piece of advice that will help you build your content is this: think about how you like to look for information. If you’re like most people, you find a page or site that seems trustworthy, and you read what they’ve written. Often, you follow links within that site to other posts or content that is relevant.
We can reverse-engineer that browsing experience and give you some great ideas. Start with a good base of interesting information, all centered around one or two central topics. The people who read your blog for information on those specific topics will want to read more of your articles. They will spend more time looking around your site, and this will help you when it comes to Google’s algorithm.
From these core pillars, you can start to write about other topics as you encounter them.
Sleep and eat, eat and sleep
Hotels are always a popular blog post topic, as fellow travelers are looking for guides or reviews to help them plan their trip somewhere. Try out boutique hotels, quirky bed & breakfasts, or something entirely different (hello camper van rental!)
The same thing goes for restaurants:
Restaurants can be a very rich source of blog post material, especially in new places. Local dishes, style of service, price ranges, etc., can all be explored in depth.
But for both restaurants and hotels, be wary of reviewing ones that are already popular among tourists. These are often already covered in many people’s guides and other places.
Every day can be a new adventure
Some people like to read about travel itineraries, especially if they don’t know an area well enough to plan their own. With this in mind, you can write about where you’ve just been and where you’re going next. Link them together with an explanation for why you are visiting these places, maybe with a cute anecdote to make it lively. This will help people decide if they want to follow in your tracks, or go somewhere different.
Don’t count out travel days, either — train routes, long bus journeys, dodgy flight stories, all of these can be interesting and engaging to read about, if the posts are well-written.
Bring the world to their screens
Cultural experiences like special holidays, off-the-beaten-path adventure stories, and humorous stories of culture shock are all great examples of things that people want to read about.
And don’t forget — texts are great, and stories are fun, but the internet is a multimedia extravaganza. There’s no need to keep everything to black and white and 2-dimensional. Mix it up a little: videos can transmit the hustle and bustle of a big city, and podcasts allow you to let local people share their voices.
Remember that a travel blog tells your personal story: let your personality shine through in your writing. By staying engaging and relatable, people will want to keep up with your adventures, and will keep checking back on your site to hear what you’ve been up to.
How to make money as a travel blogger
If you’re going to make it work as a travel blogger, you’re going to need income.
Advertising on your blog can provide some revenue, and Google AdSense is a great way to find advertisers: Google rents advertising space on your site, and you get paid for it. It can be tricky to get approved for a Google AdSense account, so it may not be the best way to get started.
This is why many canny bloggers with high readership often take advantage of their traffic to do affiliate marketing.
Linking to a particular product that you’ve used or would like to try is a great way to make a small commission from each sale generated through your recommendation. Amazon has an affiliate program, as do lots of other online retailers.
Keyword usage, while not directly making you money, can make you more visible on Google searches, and will help feed your affiliate marketing program.
How can I use keywords?
Let’s say you’ve been traveling in Europe. You have discovered the absolute best walking sandal that takes you from the beach to the shops, and out to dinner, without having to change your footwear. You’d want to brag about that, right?
What you can do is to mention your amazing footwear find in a blog post. Maybe casually, or maybe you’re ecstatic about it. You can carefully sprinkle words like ‘sandals’, ‘comfortable sandals’, ‘sandals for walking’, ‘stylish sandals’, etc. throughout your post.
These are keywords, and when they are repeated (naturally and without forcing) on a page, they help you show up in Google searches of those words. If you then tag those particular sandals with an affiliate marketing link, people can follow the link based on your recommendation. If they buy the sandals, you will earn a commission for that sale.
The gears are probably already turning in your mind, thinking of all the ways in which you can make the best use of these important tools. If you’d like more information about how to use keywords appropriately for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), check out a giant in the field, Yoast.
If you’re going to be using your own photos, these can give you a potential passive revenue stream as well. Sites like Alamy let you sell your photos as stock photos for use all over the web. Alternatively, setting up an Etsy site linked to your blog is a small upfront investment in your time. But one that can pay off big in the long run.
Linking to other blog pages and websites is a great way to get exposure for your site (read: more visitors!) Start by following other bloggers and video-bloggers (vloggers) that you admire, and comment on their posts. Over time, they can reciprocate your interest and comment on your posts. Once you build trust, you can start linking to each others’ pages. These inward-bound links to your site are a huge help to both readers and Google.
Starting and maintaining a travel blog is an exciting project that can keep the lights on in your camper van (so to speak). With very little overhead, a bit of preparation, and the ability to work and learn as you go, it has the potential to be a long-term lifestyle.
So go on, plan your next trip — just make sure your accommodation has Wi-Fi, in case you feel the need to write about it…