I have been working as a travel blogger for just over a year now. Throughout the process I have learned so much. As I start my second year I have been reflecting on what I can improve to grow my blog presence, to offer more engaging content and to reach my goals for the year.
This is a list of what I have learned in my first year:
- Make your posts count. When I travel I rely heavily on travel blogger recommendations but have failed to offer many in my posts. I know now how important it is to give readers something of value, not just my experience and inspirations but also information which can help them to have an amazing trip. So this year I am going to take specific notes on great restaurants, places to stay and things to do, especially unique things that aren’t blogged about.
- Organize and label your pictures. As a travel blogger your pictures should have titles which coordinate with your post, they should also have alternate text which contains your focus keyword. It is important for SEO but also for you. Being organized will save you time when you are working and help you remember what was what when you are ready to post.
- Take pictures of the journey not just the destination. Getting there is half the fun right? So show people your views from the train, the plane or the car. Don’t get caught up in the moment and forget that the journey is just as important as where you are going. Some of my best memories from last year were things I saw from the trains as we traveled, or the cars as we toured. It gives readers a sense of the whole trip, not just the destination.
- Write more often. Being consistent is one of the most important things you can do for the success of your blog. It isn’t always easy when you are traveling to make the time to blog, I know, but if you don’t then you aren’t creating new content for people to like, comment on or follow.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others will lead to nothing but frustration unless you have an amazing following like, Nomadic Matt. It takes time and a lot of hard work to build a blog, a following and to obtain the numbers brands want in order to work with you. Look to other travel bloggers for inspiration not as a measuring stick. Remember everyone started somewhere, and almost no one was popular instantly, or even within the first year or two.
- Promote your blog as much as you can, and then do more. If people don’t know you are there they can’t read or follow you. Post more often to Twitter and Facebook as well as other travel sites and articles. (I have started to contribute to stories using HARO to find opportunities.) Use scheduling tools like Buffer to post to Social Media, don’t just share your post once, do it many times.
- Take an interest in other travel bloggers. Follow people on Instagram, Twitter and their blogs. Comment, follow, communicate. Make sure you are sincere in your comments. Many people suggest putting links to your blog in comments, I am not comfortable with that yet, but if you are and you do make sure it is after a well thought out comment, otherwise you just look spammy.
- Don’t be shy. It is important to not get caught up in whether you are good enough or not. You are, there is an audience for everyone. If you don’t believe me, spend time looking at other blogs there are so many different kinds written in different ways, your voice is unique and there is a place for it.
- SEO is vital. Utilize keywords, great headlines, photo descriptions and unique content to help the blog be seen. Get registered on Google Analytics and then learn how to use it. There is also Klout to see how you rate as an influencer. In the sea of blogs and information it is hard to be seen if you aren’t playing the SEO game. I am not good at this, but this year I will be!
- Network, network, network. Tell people about your blog, ask them to check it out, include them in your blog if appropriate and then let them know you linked to them. When you are talking to other travelers on your journey’s don’t be afraid to tell them you blog and ask them to follow you.
- Try to help others. If you can help others by promoting them, linking to them, collaborating or just offering your advice, or an ear to listen it will go a long way. Be genuine about helping. It always comes back ten fold.
- Find alternate ways to build your audience. This year I am going to start selling my photos. It will help build an audience for blogging (and provide extra income). You can offer a newsletter with great travel tips, ideas or itineraries. Think outside the box on what you can do to reach beyond your blog and build a following or gain more exposure.
Blogging can be lonely. In our digital world we don’t get immediate feedback like we do working in an office. So make sure you enjoy what you are doing, have a network of support and always stick to your voice. Writing about my travel experiences is such a pleasure for me, make sure it is for you too.
I have a lot of goals for the year and a long way to get there, but I know I am gathering great information and tools to reach them. Each week I am trying to implement one new thing, whether it is a tool to make my blog better, a new site to contribute to or post my blog posts or ways to make my blog financially successful. I am so excited.
Here are a couple of the blogs that have taught me a lot or inspire me:
I would love to hear your stories, what you have learned, what are your struggles or goals.