Travel blogging, and indeed blogging in general, is a burgeoning medium that continues to grow. Seemingly thousands each day buy domain names, and set off to experience a life of leisure, spending their days taking Instagram photos and sipping rosé all day – or so it seems.
The reality of travel blogging is that there are many misconceptions, from what it takes to become successful to what being a travel blogger really means. We seek to clear away the smoke, to demystify what separates the legitimate blogs from the also-rans, and show you how to have a thriving travel blog of your own!
Everyone who takes the plunge into travel blogging feels the same euphoric initial feeling: This will be simple because I’ve traveled.
The truth is, it’s not that simple. Travel blogging is hard work. Very hard work. You’ll learn more than you’ve ever learned, and push yourself further than you thought possible at times. It’s a unique experience, for unique people who commit to something they won’t actualize today, this week, or even this year.
Travel blogging is all about the pursuit of weaving a unique tapestry of every place you have a passion for, and creating a unique space in the blogosphere that others can relate and benefit from. Why? Because there is a slim to none chance that you’re the first one to experience the place you’re writing about and put pen to paper (or hands to computer).
Yet, you must be different.
Understand that your experience must paint a picture, either like no one has ever had, or one that continues the brush strokes in their memory to encourage them to be enlightened by your writing. Keep in mind – everyone has seen a sunset. However, fewer have seen it in Santorini. Even fewer of those have seen it in Oia, or specifically understood the steps it takes to get that perfect, peaceful photograph – the ones on all the postcards. That sweet spot in Santorini that faces the sea, where the breeze moves your mind, where the pink and blues mix in your consciousness. Travel blogging isn’t about the “first times”, it’s about the BEST times.
“Everybody wants to experience what I’ve experienced!”
A common misconception is that your personal experience is one that everyone is looking for, is envious to find, or interested to read about.
Travel is a universal differentiator – that is – everyone is looking for a different view. However, the key is to find a consistent love of the wonders across the globe. Do you love mountain biking? Don’t stick to Colorado, find a route in Chile! Do you love cliff diving? Look at the cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, the dive spots of Nice, and move your passion around the world, even if it’s a focused idea. Take that much needed leap into a world-wide mentality and explore!
When travel blogging, take a minute to think about the reader’s perspective. What descriptions of an experience would entice you? The smell of the breeze flowing through the mountains in Peru? The colors of the sky during a sunset in Paris? Be an observer of your own travels and your readers will follow!
“My travel blog is all about me!”
This harkens back to the previous misconception, in that travel blogging is all about appealing to the vast array of travelers who transverse this magical sphere. While the natural intention is to showcase your personal accomplishments, photos, videos, etc., the truth is, a successful travel blogger shows the audience how to make those accomplishments personal for themselves.
Sure, you can show a video of the first time you snorkeled in the Caribbean, but how did you accomplish that? Where is it located? What were the steps that took you to that spot? Where is the best place to actually put on those masks and become one with the ocean?
Leave behind the idea that your experience alone is what is drawing viewers, and understand that they may not care – they’re interested in your experience so they can make informed decisions to create their own! Make your blog relevant, informative, and not 100% about yourself.
“The most famous places are the best to write about!”
One of the main pitfalls, and one of the easiest misconceptions to fall victim to, is taking that idea of the road most traveled when writing about the world.
For example, while Rome is certainly one of the most picturesque and historic places in Europe, it’s also one of the most famous. Hundreds (if not thousands) of travel bloggers have waxed poetic about these high-traffic areas around the globe. Have you been to London, Paris, or Venice? Many of your fans have as well, and are likely looking for a different perspective from the one they had on their own vacation.
If they haven’t visited these historic landmarks, its highly likely that they’re not reading about their dream destination for the first time on your blog. The key is to make your writing a unique experience within these well-worn locations. Remember that small, local shop you visited in Florence, where they had handmade jewelry? Maybe you visited a shell-carver in Greece, or had fresh local ceviche in a village in the Peru?
These experiences only add a multitude of flavors, sights, sounds and smells to your audience, even in a location that has been tread for millennia. Keep your readers moving through the streets and sights of a popular travel location in a unique and insightful way, and you can’t go wrong.
Additionally, think of the “in-between towns” while traveling. There are more people looking for information on these places than you realize, and the truth is that there’s not enough information on many of these smaller towns and villages. Don’t be so focused on the “brand name” cities that you forget to mention the small village you found so charming in the Yucatan, or the seaside restaurant you found on the Costa Brava. A simply piece of content on a smaller area such as this has the potential to make you a subject matter expert far faster than writing on exclusively “top 10” cities.
“SEO doesn’t matter if the content is great!”
Last but certainly not least, one sobering misconception is that great content – whether writing, photography, video or otherwise – supersedes the over-arching importance of SEO ingrained within the science of travel blogging.
The fact is this – organic search is the number one reason why blogs get significant traffic, and the one area in which notable blogs find success. While social media platforms change consistently, a blog founded on the bedrock of organic search will find long-term success. You must matter to Google.
This means that no matter how good your content is, it’s meaningless unless it can be found organically. That means you need to learn how at least the basics of SEO – how to properly set up your blog, how to get other sites to link to yours, and how to consistently raise your website’s Google presence.
Not only this, but even social platforms are getting into the SEO game. Pinterest has become a massive source of traffic by acting less of a social engine, and more of a search engine. Expect the long-term future of online search to continue this trend, meaning you must learn the fundamentals of SEO.
If you’re looking to do more than simply dabble in blogging, but to create a business that can replace your job and give you long-term freedom, these are five areas to know and master. If you come to blogging with clear expectations on how to build your brand, how to master the fundamentals of SEO, and focus on crafting a blog that matters to people, you can’t help but become successful.