Last week I told you about why everyone should write a travel blog. I wasn’t talking about travel blogging to make money or to ‘travel the world for free’. I was talking about travel blogging for the love of travelling and sharing your stories with the world.
If I managed to convince you to start a blog or you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for advice on how to improve you blog, read on for 10 tips for new travel bloggers:
1. Be inspired but don’t copy
I’m always shocked by the amount of travel bloggers out there who tell me they don’t read other blogs. WTF?
Could you imagine a fashion designer that never looks at clothes designed by others? Or a writer who never read a book written by someone else. Or a chef who only ate in their own restaurant?
If you don’t enjoy reading other people’s blogs then people probably won’t enjoy reading yours.
Blogs inspire me and help me create new ideas for blog content. They also encourage me to travel, bake, shop, create, design and photograph. I read blogs from all difference niches and try to bring all that inspiration back to The Travel Hack.
Use blogs to inspire you in your own writing but be careful not to copy or compare. Comparison is the thief of joy and all that…
Check out: Travel bloggers to look out for in 2014 if you’re looking for some cool blogs to follow.
2. Write about what you love and be informative
When I think about my favourite bloggers they have two things: passion and knowledge.
You need passion to keep your blog interesting, inspiring and entertaining but you need knowledge to keep your readers coming back.
Provide your readers with information they can’t find elsewhere and become an expert in your chosen subject.
Kash from Budget Traveller is a great example of someone who is passionate AND informative. Kash is the king of the Luxury Hostel and he even inspired me to start staying in stylish hostels such as KEX in Iceland. His passion for the luxury hostel is infectious and his knowledge about European hostels is incredible.
Find something that you’re passionate about and share your love with the world!
3. Be unique
This is easier said than done but in order to stand out from the crowd you need to step away from the crowd and be different. A simple way to find a unique voice for your blog is to combine two or three niches. Your first niche will probably be travel so be creative with your second and third niche. Maybe it’s travel and fashion, travel and camping, travel and city life, travel and pets, travel and books. The list could go on but I’m sure you get my point. Your second interest can help to define your blog and make it different.
4. What is success?
You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are.
In order to have a successful travel blog, you need to decide what success is to you. Do you want to have 100,000 readers a month, publish a book, improve your writing and photography, use your blog as a platform to get work or to have an online diary you can be proud of?
Whatever your reason for blogging, make sure you write it down somewhere so you can put together a plan to achieve your goals and know when you’re getting there.
Blogging can take up a lot of time and energy so why not work with friends, family or fellow bloggers to create either a collaborative blog or collaborative posts? A great example of a collaborative blog is Travelettes.
Some of my most popular posts, such as ‘The Best Places for a Weekend Escape’, were written with my favourite bloggers and my favourite blogs often have multiple writers.
A collaborative blog can still be very personal but you have the advantage of multiple voices and more time, more resources and more ideas to create something bigger and better.
6. Brush up on your photography skills
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so let your photos do the talking for a change. The internet is a fast-paced environment where people have a ridiculously short attention span and photographs are a great way to capture people’s attention.
You don’t need to have a fancy DSLR camera to take great pictures, you just need to have an eye detail. Some of my favourite photos that I’ve taken recently where taken on a Nokia 1020 such as this Instagram essay from Copenhagen.
If you are in the market for a fancy camera, take a look at ‘What cameras do travel bloggers use?’
7. Spelling and grammar ARE important
Spellcheck was invented for a reason. Use it. That is all.
8. Embrace social media
Social media is the best way to promote your blog, find new blogs and keep up with your favourite blogs. Personally, Twitter is my favourite because it’s a great way to have quick and informal chats. There are loads of social networks out there and I wouldn’t recommend trying to use them all. Stick to 2-3 that you enjoy using and use them well. I tend to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis and occasionally dip into Pinterest and G+.
Remember: The more you put into social media the more you’ll get out of it but don’t spend more than half an hour a day on it.
9. Learn about the techy stuff
By ‘techy stuff’ I basically mean everything that isn’t writing and social media because there is much more techy stuff to blogging then most people imagine. You need to know about hosting, WordPress, SEO, plugins, backups, scheduling, Photoshop and more. Next week I’ll be talking about how to set up a blog and I’ll be keeping it super simple for any technophobes out there.
10. Don’t do it for the money…
…because there isn’t any. (Or not a lot anyway!)
There are so many guides about ‘how to make money from your blog’ when really they should be entitled, ‘How to use your blog as a portfolio to showcase your talents to find work to make money.’ OK, it isn’t as catchy but there are lots of bloggers out there who are selling a dream that is unattainable for most people.
If you want to make money from your blog, think of it as a very time-consuming portfolio rather than a single source of income.
11. Just start blogging!
And finally, my bonus tip is to just start blogging. Stop worrying about design and what other people think and what other people are doing, just get started. It doesn’t matter if your blog isn’t perfect because the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin learning how to make it perfect.