So You Want to become a Professional Travel Blogger

Travel blogger, travel blogging, professional travel blogger, life of a travel blogger

So you want to be a travel blogger.  Think you will be able to make a fortune and give up that boring 9-5 that you keep complaining about. 

You want to travel the world and believe having a blog is the answer. 

You have read numerous blogs entitled ‘How to earn a fortune blogging’ or something similar and think that it sounds easy and simple.  By the way, if you type into Google ‘how to make money blogging’ one of the top articles of the moment states that as a blog it makes over $100k a month so really how hard can it be.

Well, I am going to let you into a little secret – blogging is the hardest thing I have ever done and making money is not easy.  In fact, less than 10% of people can honestly say that their only income stream is from blogging alone.

That doesn’t mean it’s not possible, it just means that before you jump in with both feet you really do need to do your research and realise that, should you succeed, you will spend more hours working than ever before – don’t be drawn in by those claiming that you will only need to work a couple of hours each week – plus you will need to be more resilient than ever.

blogging, travel blogger, life as a travel blogger

We no longer have relaxing evenings just watching TV

A Brief History of Blogging

The world of blogging has exploded in recent years and is now a popular source of information for anyone surfing the internet.  However, it wasn’t until 1997 that the term ‘weblog’ was coined and it took until 1999 for the firstly accessible blog platform, Blogger, to be created, with WordPress not following until 2003. 

According to one article there were only 23 blogs on the internet back in 1999, however, in less than 10 years this grows to 50 million.  Today the figures have grown exponentially with the number of blogs now exceeding 440 million.   Of course, this isn’t just travel related.  This figure encompasses the whole market but regardless, of the type of blogger you want to be – travel, fashion, book, lifestyle or niche – this is your competition. 

Your blog will need to be able to stand out in a sea of millions.

Each day, 50,000 new blogs are created on the free WordPress.com platform alone, so you really do need to think about how you are not going to drown.  My advice, before you even start on this journey think about what you are going to write about, how you are going to standout, what you are going to differently.

Perhaps, if I had been sensible enough to research my niche and ideas before actually launching it wouldn’t have taken me over three years to get to where I am today.  Maybe if I had looked into blogging before simply jumping in feet first, I would have picked the right platform for me first time around; I would have spent more time on my graphics and would have waited until I had a portfolio of articles before launching.  Maybe I would have actually looked at the skills needed to create an eye-catching, thought-provoking website that others would want to read.

Here’s to hindsight!

Seriously though, with more than 1,400 blog posts going live every minute you really do need to think hard, plan, research, write and then review before publishing anything. 

You also need to consider that the majority of blogs out there today get less than 1,000 views a month which means that if you follow the crowd, continuing to do what everyone else that is doing the chances of being noticed are slim.

You also need to think about why you are blogging.  Is it an outlet for friends and family to follow your travels?  Is it something you would like to turn into a business?  Is there some other reason for starting this online journey?

 Of course, if you are not completely overwhelmed by all of this then blogging can be extremely rewarding.

Things to Consider Before You Begin Blogging

Chances are if you have decided to start a blog you are already a blog reader.  If that’s the case, before you even start your own blog, begin by looking at your favourite blogs and decide what it is you like most about them.

Is it the design, the topics, the style of writing? 

Once you have figured out the type of blog you wish to create start to write, get a feel for the subject matter and try to generate articles that you yourself would like to read.

At the same time, you also need to understand that there are certain skills involved in blogging and in order to be successful you will need to develop these.

Unfortunately, it is not just a case of writing something and then uploading it to your chosen platform.  You also need to think about how you are going to attract readers to your blog – think back to that 1,400 articles posted every minute.  Why should someone read your article over the other 1,399 that have just landed onto the internet?

There are of course ways to improve your visibility and whilst you may not understand some of these things straight away, if you do want to succeed these are skills that you will need learn.

For example, on top of writing, you will also need to think about which social media platforms you are going to promote your work on and how you are going to target your specific audience.  You will need to consider learning basic HTML and coding as well as getting to grips with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  You will need to consider whether you are going to improve your photography skills or gain basic graphic design abilities. 

On top of all of this you will need strong will power and determination, develop good time management skills, have a thick skin and  above all else have a willingness to keep developing all these newfound skills. 

We now get up while it is still dark and climb mountains to make sure we capture the sunrise

Still Want to be a Travel Blogger?

Great news, if you have got this far and still want to be a travel blogger, welcome to the blogosphere. 

Things have moved on considerably since the old days of print journalism with bloggers now being some of the most influential people out there. Online influencers are far more recognisable and trusted than ever before so as long as you research you subject matter well and reference sources when needed there is no reason why you won’t succeed.  You just need to make sure you go about it in the right way, following the legal guidelines set out for advertising, marketing and endorsements whilst also making sure that you stay true to yourself, only writing what you believe in.

Still think Blogging is a Quick and Easy Way to Make Money?

Seriously, I get it.  Who am I to say these things?  After all, I am still on my own journey to full financial independence so I decided to reach out to others that now run very successful blogs.  I wanted to know whether it was just me who thought that these blogs quoting quick ways to earn money were unrealistic and perhaps unsurprisingly, everyone I spoke to have a similar thought on these click-bait, affiliate loaded blog articles.

travel blogging, blogging, travel blogger, life as a blogger

We have to make sure everything is constantly charged. We would hate to miss a moment because our phone or camera has died

Successful Bloggers: Their Thoughts on How to Succeed in the Blogosphere

Bret Love of Green Global Travel 
Blogging, Travel Blogging, Bret Love, Life as a Blogger

Bret teaching a branding course at TBEX in Costa Brava

When we first started planning Green Global Travel seven years ago, we literally knew nothing about blogging. I’d edited and managed newspapers and magazines for 17 years, while Mary helped manage a small business for 10 years. So we stuck with what we knew and approached blogging as a business right from the get-go. 

In our lectures and workshops at conferences around the world, we emphasize a brand-based approach to building a blog, which means thinking long-term and focusing on what it is that makes your site unique. I think of Branding like a map: It’s not just about where you are now, but a guide to help get you wherever you want to go. It’s a blueprint for every single decision you make about your blog. “Does this choice help me achieve my goals for my Brand?” If the answer is yes, then go for it; if not, you may want to consider the Opportunity Cost involved.

We’ve done several surveys of PR/marketing reps in the travel industry: The results showed that crafting a well-defined brand identity and then working with companies who are looking to tap into your niche-focused audience is the path to success. The problem is that most bloggers want quick results, and will often settle for the low-hanging fruit (“free” trips, low-ball offers for sponsored posts, etc.). But by taking the slow, steady path and building up a unique identity, we found that the offers and opportunities were much greater than we ever anticipated. 

Sharon Gourlay of Digital Nomad Wannabe 
Blogging Life, Travel Blogging, Sharon Gourlay, Digital Nomad Wannabe,

Sharon from Digital Nomad Wannabe

Being financially successful at blogging is all about having a strategy that works. This is why I don’t think bloggers should worry about there being so many blogs out there already as the reality is that most bloggers don’t have a strategy. They do what they enjoy and don’t really think through how they are going to be successful. Very few actually put the work into making sure they have a strategy that will work and truly focus on financial goals.

If your goals are financial you need to focus on this and not get caught up in page views or number of followers. It sounds simple but its the #1 way I see bloggers going wrong (and I also made this mistake). More page views does not equal more income unless you already have a great strategy.

Your strategy should be about how you will make money. Who is your ideal audience, how will get them to your blog and how will you make money from them once they are on your blog.

Everything you work on should be part of this. This is how you find the time to reach your blogging goals – by not focusing on tasks that won’t get you there.

For me when I had a travel blog, it was all about using SEO to get people from Google to my blog who were ready to book travel or buy a product and then present them with great affiliate products.

Once I realised that I should do this and worked out how, success did not take long. This is where most of my effort went into and its how I built a 6 figure blog.

For my latest blog, it’s been using Facebook groups to grow myself as an authority and to then sell products to help people further.

There are many ways to be successful but it is about having a solid strategy, working hard at it and not giving up easily.

Meg Jerrard of Mapping Megan
Travel Blogging, travel lifestyle, blogging, Mapping Megan

Megan from Mapping Megan

One definite requirement to being successful as a blogger is an ability to stay on top of new industry trends, marketing research, and technologies. The industry and job are constantly evolving, and this is both the biggest challenge and the biggest reward. It’s a challenge as there’s no set job description, and there’s no real industry standard as this is still a very new field. Online platforms and therefore marketing strategies for the online space are constantly evolving, and if you don’t keep up and adapt your business strategies/plans to new technologies you’ll become irrelevant.

There’s therefore a huge learning curve which comes with new technologies, though this is one of the aspects of the job that I love. I love being challenged, and it’s very rewarding to constantly feel as though you’re learning something new.

Jennifer Dombrowski of Luxe Adventure Traveler
Blogging Lifestyle, Travel Blogging, Blogging, Luxe Adventure Traveler

Jennifer from Luxe Adventure Traveler

I worked full time at my career as a social media marketing executive at a university for 6 years while blogging.  Finally when I felt I was earning enough and had the traffic to earn more with more time, I left my job to focus on my blog as a full time business.

Additionally, I have always had a home and only travel about 1/3 of the year.  Far more time is actually spent at home than travelling.

Alyson Long of World Travel Family

You have to love blogging.  You can’t only do it for the money.  I love blogging and can now support my family with my travel blog this is mostly due to affiliate sales and advertising plus being good at SEO and knowing which posts make money.  I only do sponsored travel and free stays once in a blue moon, our focus is on making money to pay for our own travel so that we don’t need freebies.

Just know that no two people do it the same way and you will always read a lot of conflicting and sometimes wrong advice which you need to be prepared for.

Krista Aoki of Reroute Lifestyle 

travel blogger, travel blogging, blogging, life as a travel blogger, reroute lifestyle,

​Making money blogging takes time. First, you have to adjust your writing style in a way that serves other people. It takes a long time to just be able to write about your day-to-day life because people are subconsciously thinking ​”what’s in it for me?” 

​And then there’s promotion. Once you’ve finally written the content, and optimized it for search engines, you just need to promote your articles in order to make money blogging.

​One of the best ways for new bloggers to make money is from affiliate marketing. You don’t have to spend all the time it takes to develop a product. You just need to let people know how the product (or service) can benefit or change their lives.​

​If you want long term success, always tweak and find ways you can improve. Look at your analytics. Make sure that your most popular posts are optimized for people to either buy, opt-in to your mailing list, or keep browsing your site. Pay attention to your social media posts that get the most engagement, because that’s a huge indicator of what people want to see. Always keep churning and changing and really… never give up.

Jay Artale of Birds of a Feather

When you’re blogging about travel destinations there’s one critical consideration before you start wrestling with your opening paragraph: you need to define your audience. Knowing who you’re writing for not only helps your audience but it also helps you. Being a travel blogger who is in it for the long-haul is hard work. You need to create a continual stream of content for your blog, so finding ways to streamline your content creation process is an essential step, and defining your audience will help you do that. As travel bloggers, we’re all focused on increasing our audience and connecting with as many people as possible across the web and via social media. If you try and write for “everyone” you’ll end up pleasing “no-one.” The more specifically you define your audience, the easier it will be to reach them.

Karlis Kikuts of Independent Wolf
Travel Blogging, Blogging lifestyle, Blogging, Blogger, Karlis, Independent Wolf

Karlis of Independent Wolf

Build a likable person behind your website. As simple as that: People read your content because you wrote it. People don’t like your content but they like you because you are a charismatic and likable person that your readers can relate to.

You see, it isn’t just me.  Blogging may seem easy on the outset; may look like it is something that can be done in an hour or two a week as a sideline to bring in extra money but the reality is very different. 

As one very successful blogger recently said to me ‘competition is extremely high.  You have to invest time and energy into your blog, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset and have an aggressive work ethic potentially working harder than ever before’.  If however, you succeed, it can also be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

Raphael Alexander Zoren of Journey Wonders
Travel Blogging, blogging lifestyle, Blogging, Journey Wonders,

Raphael from Journey Wonders

I would recommend monetizing each single channel at your disposal (Social Media, Blog, E-Mail Newsletter) as well as monetizing your writing and photography skills in order to have many different sources of potential income. 
When it comes to Journey Wonders I have two sources of income: passive income (thanks to Mediavine ads and Booking.com affiliates) and active income which is the one that requires you to work closely with brands to create unique engaging content.
Think of yourself as an octopus: each one of your arms should aim for obtaining an individual source of income although sometimes those arms can work together to catch something way bigger.

Are you thinking of starting a blog?  Have you started a blog and would like to share your views with our readers?  Perhaps, you are a seasoned blogger that completely disagrees with everything I have written in this article and would like to voice your own opinion.  We look forward to all your comments.

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Thinking of starting a travel blog? Think it will be easy to earn money from blogging. This article explains the truth behind blogging and how easy it is to make a living via @tbookjunkie

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