In case you missed it, last week I posted the first half of my Blogstock talk about how to be a figure blogger.
Here’s the second half of my talk with more about my really basic SEO guide, quick tips and how I make money from my travel blog.
SEO, trees and spider webs
In my talk I admitted that I don’t think about SEO too much. I know other bloggers will think I’m crazy not to but it’s just not the way I work.
The things I do think about are:
My blog post titles – I make sure they’re always something people will be searching for in Google rather than something fluffy/cute/intriguing. I used my recent weekend in Iceland as an example and said I wanted to call the post ‘The best weekend of my life’. This might get short-term traffic through my RSS feeds and social media but long-term that won’t get any Google traffic because no one will be searching for ‘The best weekend The Travel Hack ever had’, because no one actually cares. So instead I named the post, ‘The best 36 hours in Iceland’, because people are more likely to search for a 36 hour Iceland itinerary.
When it comes to trees, I think of my most popular posts as the tree trunks. Most bloggers will find they have a handful of posts that do way better than any others so this is your trunk. And then image lots of other blog posts coming off your trunk to smaller branches. You want lots of links within your popular posts to other posts that keep leading your readers around your blog.
Think of your blog like a spider’s web. You want to capture readers with the big posts and keep them on your site for as long as possible. Keep enticing them to read more.
I absolutely love it when readers message me and say, ‘I just lost an hour on your blog as I hopped from post to post.’ That’s exactly what I want!
Post more frequently
This is a simple one but a good one. If you want more pageviews, post more pages!
I know, it’s hard if you have a full time job and blog on the side but when you see your pageviews rising it’s a great motivator.
At this point someone asked me for my tips about finding time to post more. I suggested spending one day writing ALL of your posts for the week and then scheduling them out. When I worked full time I would write all of my posts on a Sunday and then spend the week doing all those fiddly little blog jobs that take up so much time.
Another tip is to turn off your emails and log out of social media. Emails and Twitter are such a distraction! Working on the weekends also helps because no one is sending you urgent emails to get back to.
The blogosphere changes so quickly so it’s really important to stay ahead of the game. Read everything you possibly can about SEO, writing, photography, new trends. I also like to read magazines and blogs from different niches to get inspiration for new things.
It’s important to invest in yourself so take courses, attend webinars, read books, go to conferences.
I’d also recommend making blogger friends so you can geek out together and chat about new things you’ve read or learned.
Put your personality into your blog
People read blogs to read about people. They want personal experiences and your honest point of view. If people wanted to read a historical description about an ancient city, they’d go to Wikipedia. If they want to read about your experience in the ancient city, they’ll come to your blog.
Never dilute your personality and make sure you include all of your thoughts and feelings in each post. It’s useful information that will initially attract a reader but it’s your personality that will keep them coming back.
Tell the full story
Give your readers everything they need to know.
I used the example of a blog I found when I was researching my trip to Iceland. I found a blog by a couple who blogged about EVERYTHING from their trip. There was everything such as how they got there, where they stayed, their car hire, the tours they took, where they ate, where they shopped, things they loved, things they hated, their tips for travelling in Iceland, how much money they spent and what to pack. After reading their blog I didn’t need to go anywhere else to research my trip, they’d done all the research for me! I went back to this blog at least once a week to double check facts and re-read certain things.
Become a valuable resource for your readers and they’ll be sure to read more and keep coming back.
Replicate your success
Maybe this is another obvious one but if something worked once, it’ll work twice. Analyse your success, figure out why it worked and do it again.
How I make money from blogging
After all this talking, I went on to tell everyone how I make money from blogging and the audience I’ve built up.
- Writing for other blogs and websites and then promoting the posts I write to my audience
- Affiliate links from products I recommend (I mainly use Amazon and ShopStyle)
- Brand ambassadorships
- Product reviews
- Sponsored posts
- Working with tourism boards on campaigns
- Social media and blog coaching
Work hard and be nice to people
If you only take on one piece of advice, please make sure it’s this. Remember that when you’re working with an advertiser or a brand, there’s a person behind that brand. People like to work with nice people! So work hard and be nice and people will want to work with you again and again.
You might have a huge blog but if you’re a d*ck, no one will want to work with you.
I’d like to say a massive thanks to Michael and Paul and all the other people who made Blogstock another incredible festival. It really is the best blogging conference/festival/workshops I’ve ever been to (and I’ve been to A LOT!)
Happy Sunday everyone and happy travels!
I’m in Portugal this week. Don’t forget you can follow along on Snapchat (thetravelhack) and Instagram (@TheTravelHack)