Ever since I was a kid, I loved writing, loved being inspired by travel and loved photography. So when I was asked what I actually wanted to do when I was at University, I combined the three. I thought it would be as easy as set up a blog and get some exposure. It’s not that easy, it’s actually quite a lot of hard work! I get asked by people that are just starting out with travel blogs, how did I do it? There are some simple rules I followed, that helped me get where I am and helped me improve my blog massively. In 2016, I had double the amount of visitors and views on my blog, than I did in 2015. In just January 2017 alone, I’ve already reached the amount of visitors and views that I had for the entire of 2015. And I still have 11 months to go! So I have no doubts that what I’m doing is working, and definitely an improvement from when I started. Here are some tips to help you improve your travel blog skills:
You need to stick at it, and have patience. It won’t come overnight, but will come eventually. Don’t give up!
- MIX IT UP
Have a mixture of things in your blog, related to travel. Don’t make all posts the same, otherwise you’re only going to be appealing to a small audience. Mix it up with reviews, stories, videos, tips etc. Therefore, it broadens your audience. The more visitors you have visiting your blog, the more exposure you get, and the more likely the right kind of people that you want to be visiting your blog, will! It also makes your blog a lot more enjoyable.
- DON’T WRITE A MILLION WORDS
I know in some posts I can go on, but sometimes it’s needed. And compared to some blogs I’ve seen, I’ve still been quite brief! If you want to appeal to others, rather than just your family and friends, you don’t need to put a minute by minute account of what you’re up to on your travels. People will get bored and click off your blog. Put in the important details, the fun things that will get people interested, and they can relate to. Also goes back to point 2, of mixing it up. Don’t just have pages and pages of stories of your travels. Your limiting your audience, and you’ll probably find the only audience you have, are your family and friends. Not the kind of people that are going to sponsor your blog!
- LIMIT YOUR TAGS
When I first started blogging, I was putting loads of tags on my blog posts, related to travel. Then I was left wondering why people weren’t reading my blog. My theory was based upon my experience with Instagram. The more tags you have, the more people who see your post, the bigger the audience. Wrong! Your limit is 8. If you start to put more tags than 8, the less likely you are to get read. Give it a trial, put a few important tags, and guaranteed within a couple of months, you’ll notice the difference. WordPress reader will pick up your blog a lot more easily, and know your intended audience better. Therefore getting it in front of more people that are likely to follow your blog.
The more experience you have of travelling and seeing new places, the stronger your blog will get. I started writing, and I had been quite a few places over Europe and the UK. I thought this was enough to get me started. Wrong! I soon realised I had very little experience compared to other bloggers. Therefore people were more interested in their stuff, rather than mine. Which is understandable, I would be too! Not saying you need to spend a fortune, and go luxury places, but you definitely need a wider map, if you intend to reach a bigger audience. Don’t stick to the same kind of areas, otherwise as pointed out before, you’re limiting your audience.
- HAVE A CATCHY NAME
Just using your own name is a bit of no no in blogging world. Using your name, in a phrase, such as The Little MerMEG, makes you look more professional, and therefore you’ll get taken more seriously. Or you can make up a completely new name for yourself. (Try make it travel related!) Don’t make it long, or complicated, and make sure it’s easy for people to remember. What is the reason behind my blog name? When I started my blog, I had bright red hair, like the little mermaid. Which was also my favourite Disney movie as a child. As well as this, I’m a swimmer. Swimming is a form of travel, and is obviously related to mermaids! I changed maid to Meg, my nickname, and it all clicked together quite well. I asked a few friends what they thought at the time, and they loved it. I’ve never regretted it, or wanted to change it since!
Don’t just use WordPress, and expect to get your name out there. That’s like a shop expecting to be known worldwide, but having no form of website. Get a Facebook page, Instagram, YouTube account, Tumblr, Twitter etc. Whichever relates best to your content and your audience, and get your blog out there. Have business cards with your website/instagram etc, and pin them up on hostel boards etc, when you’re travelling. Have stickers on hand with your logo/name/website, to stick in places. (Make sure it’s allowed!) Send your blog posts to websites, or newspapers/magazines that may have an audience interested in your stuff, and that have a much bigger audience than your blog. Don’t be afraid to push it. Team up with other bloggers, join forces with those that are in the same boat as you. You’re not enemies! Just posting links to your blog posts on your personal facebook account, isn’t going to do it.
I’m not saying post 50 million times a day, because that will have the opposite effect. But posting once every 3 months isn’t going to do anything. People will look at the timing of your blog posts, and think there’s no point in them following you. Just because you’re not on the road, it doesn’t mean you can no longer post things. I’ve been back in the UK since October, but I’m still posting things either daily, or a few times a week, at least. I’m posting things from my travels from months ago, that I didn’t have time to upload to my blog. Rather than post it all at once, I’m drip feeding it into my blog over a few months, until my next travels.
- DON’T HATE EVERY OTHER BLOGGER
Look at other blogs for inspiration, rather than someone to hate because they’re doing better than you. Don’t work against them, work with them. Reach out to each other, ask for interviews, work on a blog post together etc. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
- BUT DON’T COPY EVERY OTHER BLOGGER
Look at blog posts for inspiration, but make them your own. Don’t copy them word for word. That is one way to pee someone off, that you don’t even know. Most people that read travel blogs will likely be able to spot the similarities as well, as they’ve already probably read the original post. Make posts your own, make your blog your own. If you go and post similar posts to everyone else, you’re no different. Nothing is making you stand out above the rest. And that’s what you need to do to make it!
Have any suggestions of your own? Post below.