Due to the pandemic, traveling overseas isn’t nearly as easy as it used to be. And while it was glamorous at times, travel blogging was already a lot of hard work. Now it’s much harder.
If you’re looking to start up a travel blog or improve your existing one, now that the world is waking up again, this article will help you avoid some of the most common mistakes.
1. Being too generic
Do you know how many travel bloggers there are in the world? The answer is: everyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account is technically a travel blogger.
That’s great for the destinations hoping to advertise their experiences and resorts, but it means the serious travel blogger needs a unique selling point (USP) to stand out. So, ask yourself: what can I do better than 50% of everyone else? Find your niche and double down on it.
For example, you don’t have to take great pictures of cool houses, but if your USP is capturing a unique angle on iconic buildings, then your followers will tune in specifically to see that.
2. Not using SEO
Travel blogging used to be called “journaling.” But the internet transformed it into so much more.
As such, a good travel blogger should understand how to use search engine optimization (SEO) to put their writing in front of as large an audience as possible.
But keep in mind that it’s a balance. By writing too much for Google’s algorithms, your writing can sound robotic. Yet, by only writing for a human audience, your visitor traffic won’t be as high as it could be. So, while you should learn the basics of SEO, don’t go too crazy with it!
3. Too much social media
Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Tik Tok — these social media sites offer an incredible array of ways to deliver content to your followers. But focusing on it too much comes with a risk.
The risk is that, over time, your blogging begins to look like a camera is always there. Every action you take appears to be calculated to get the most clicks or likes. Nothing feels organic, and the audience will soon notice.
If your blogging becomes too scripted, you will lose the most important currency any writer has with their audience: trust. So, keep a camera handy when you’re out and about, but don’t let Instagram dictate your travel experience.
4. No writing habit
Martial artist Bruce Lee was once asked by an acolyte, “How do I punch faster?” Lee’s response was perfect: “Punch faster.” The philosophy is the same for anyone wanting to be a better travel blogger: “write more.”
The key steps to becoming a better writer are simple:
- Write every day;
- Give yourself a deadline;
- Write about anything and everything.
It doesn’t always need to be published, but getting into the habit of writing regularly will smooth out the bumps when it comes to penning your next blog.
5. Ignoring emails
Not every email is worth 10–15 minutes of your time, but responding to messages is a great way to boost your profile. Even in the internet age, word of mouth still counts for a lot.
And if you do create a USP (see above) in the travel blogging ecosystem, chances are good that other travel blogging sites or even media outlets will ask you to write paid stories for them. Keep an eye on your emails—you never know what opportunity might be in there.
6. Overlooking security
Taking the path least traveled to experience special things is crucial for every travel blogger. But it can also put you in unsafe situations.
Choosing secure accommodation and travel will help reduce risk, but staying safe online is just as important as staying safe in the physical world.
After all, a good chunk of your life as a blogger is spent online, so be careful when using unprotected Wifi connections and make sure to use a virtual private network (VPN) to stay safe online.
7. Not treating it like a business
They say if you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Let’s face it, travel blogging is a dream job. But it’s still a job.
This means you should dedicate certain hours of the day to chomping through the admin, writing the blogs, and posting them online. It means setting a schedule and sticking to it. It also means building a business plan and perhaps even securing an accountant or a lawyer.
But most importantly, treating travel blogging as a job means maximizing your income. Affiliate links are a great way to earn extra money, as is setting up ads with Google or other systems. And you might consider pulling together a weekly or monthly email and charging a few dollars for a subscription—after all, you’ve already written the blogs.
8. Lack of research
It’s your travel blog. You can write about anything you want. But just because you’re excited about teaspoons doesn’t mean your readers want to follow your mission to find fancy cutlery in every town.
Before you start any writing, always ask if the topic will interest your readers. What questions do people ask about this topic? What are some interesting details or statistics that you could include? Your audience will appreciate the consideration.
9. Bad photos
The latest iPhone 14 has a phenomenal camera built directly into the case. Indeed, most high-end smartphones now give the best DSLR cameras a run for their money. And these phones are (relatively) cheap as well. So, there really is no excuse for bad photos on travel blogs.
And yet, travel blogs are often peppered with photos that look like they were taken with little thought about context, framing, or story. You don’t have to be an expert photographer, but learning the basics of taking a great picture will do wonders for your blog’s popularity.
10. Being unrelatable
Always remember, travel is a privilege. Most people will rarely travel more than 100 kilometers from where they were born. Yet pretty much everyone wants to travel the world, just like you are right now.
The last thing readers want to hear is that “if they just try hard enough,” they too can afford to travel, or that traveling is possible “no matter your life circumstances.” This kind of message makes you unrelatable and will turn your readers off more than any other mistake in this list.
But that’s not to say your travel blog should be cringingly humble or that you should avoid highlighting anything that could cause FOMO (fear of missing out) and envy in your readers. Be yourself, but keep in mind that people read travel blogs for inspiration, not to feel bad about their lives.
Now that you know the basics of travel blogging, it’s time to get out there! The world is waking up after a long two years in hibernation and people want to know what’s going on. You can be their virtual tour guide!