Travel blogging has become an unstoppable movement. For the last four years travel blogging has been my primary source of income. However, with the increase in popularity starting a successful travel blog nowadays is extremely tough. How do you stand out from the crowd and start a blog that offers something unique? Here are ten tips I wish I would have known when starting my blog.
The world doesn’t need another post about “Things to do in Bangkok”. These topics have been recycled over and over again. To get started, you need to cover stories from a new and exciting angle that will attract readers.
Connect with Your Audience
Building a following is a massive part of running a blog. I spend a lot of time replying to emails from readers, and comments on social media and blog post. Writing back lets me make friends with my readers and connect with them as a person. For a blog standpoint, it lets you build a fan base that keeps coming back to your blog. It is vital to get people invested in you as a traveler.
Tell a Story
The best blogs have goals and narratives that follow a theme. Having an overall theme and goal keeps readers checking in on your story.
The theme of my blog is to get off the beaten path and let me readers view the world from a backpackers perspective. Some blogs tell the story of trying to visit every UNESCO site on the planet, and others are working to visit every country in the world. Figure out your story and stick to it.
Take Writing Lessons
Most people aren’t natural writers - me included. I have been doing this full-time for years, and I am still learning new things about writing every day. As a blogger writing is your tool, your weapon. Just like mastering a tool or a weapon you need training to use it properly.
Find Your Voice
One mistake a lot of people make when first starting a blog is trying to copy other bloggers writing style. The problem with this is that doesn't sound natural, and it isn't you. Develop your own voice, style, be yourself, and your writing will greatly improve.
Have an Awesome Website
So many bloggers underestimate the importance of having a good blog design. Imagine your site is a storefront. You wouldn’t visit a store that looked old and obsolete. The same goes for a blog. I spent hundreds of hours (some of which were spent banging my head against the laptop screen) learning how to design a website, read code, and edit photos.
If you don’t have the time to learn how to make a website, then pay someone to help you. It is your storefront and needs to look friendly and professional.
A big part of running a travel blog is behind the scenes. It is a business of relationships, and friendships. Comment on blog post sends bloggers emails and work on developing a friendship. It is important when breaking into the industry.
Learn How the Web Works
You can write the best story in the world but if no one is coming to your blog then what is the point. Learn how the internet works, and how to get your content in front of your audience. Things like social media and SEO are insanely important to start getting an audience.
Be Active on Social Media
Social Media is a fun tool to connect with people who read your blog. I have so many projects nowadays that I can’t write a blog post every day. So I use social media as a tool to give my readers a glimpse into my daily life. They see my latest adventures which gets them invested in reading the post a couple of weeks later. It is a fantastic way to connect with people and build the right audience.
Take Tons Photos
One tip I always tell new bloggers who are worried about their photography skills is to keep trying. Take a ton of photos from all different angles and you'll start picking up photography naturally. The chances are that if you take a ton of pictures there will be at least one awesome one.
These are ten easy tips that will help your blog get started, help you develop content ideas, and your own story.
Check out Stephen's Blog "A Backpacker's Tale" here
All images courtesy of Stephen Schreck: A Backpacker's Tale