Hello! Today, I have a great guest post to share from Alex Kroeger from ViaTravelers about how they grew a travel blog to 100,000 monthly pageviews in less than 12 months. Enjoy!
If you read travel articles or follow travelers on social media, chances are you’ve deliberated about starting your very own travel blog. But, of course, the daily grind of a desk job makes us daydream sometimes. But that dream can be a reality!
If you travel for your hobby, you likely have a pretty easy way to monetize your hobby. You don’t need to travel full-time to make money from travel blogging. You can do it even if you only travel sparingly.
When you travel, you likely build a massive repository of photos, food experiences, hotel experiences, lessons learned, frustrations and so much more. These memories make for an excellent way to journal your memories, document them and make some money along the way.
Why not put some of these memories to work and earn from passive income (at the very least) along the way?
Who knows? It may just turn into a full fledged online business…
Don’t let the existence of literally thousands of such blogs discourage you from starting your own. With the right tricks up your sleeve and a true passion to see the world, you can turn your blog into a real money maker. There will come a time when you can finance your travels through that very blog.
Intro and Why You Should Listen to Me
For my husband and I, we started out with a number of travel hacking methods and used travel credit cards to explore the world with little to no cost to us. This was a fun initial way to start exploring.
Then, we thought why not double down on our efforts and journal about our explorations? Some people become travel agents just to land new travel experiences for free. For us, we wanted to take our genuine experiences and document them directly.
Travel blogging seemed like a ton of fun because there are so many ways to monetize. You can sell printables, courses, photography, books, affiliate revenue and so much more. There is no one size fits all approach. That seemed like a fun business to be involved in. At worst, we journal and document all of our travel experiences and have it in one condensed, organized place.
Travel was not an easy niche during 2020. The pandemic was a massive headwind for the tourism industry and that’s right about when we were getting started on our travel blogging journey.
But with tough times, comes tough measures?
My husband and I have been working in digital marketing for a few years and knew that if a pandemic stood in the way that we’d need to do two things: give up or give 3x more output to get the same result in a typical environment.
Giving up sounded too boring, so we used a ton of the time that the pandemic afforded us to build a travel blog that would benefit from a post-pandemic world. It wasn’t easy but so far it’s worked.
We worked on a few strategies that we’ll cover below. But here’s a brief snapshot of our success.
As you can see it was a very very long road coming before any of the benefits came to fruition. That’s a huge learning lesson. It’s all about staying the course and how can that be a bad thing when it’s your own personal hobby anyway?
Persistence is key with blogging. You need to be that type of person that says “I’m going to keep going. Even though I don’t know if the road is certain.”
If you keep pushing, publishing high quality content and focus on strategies that actually produce results, things will work out.
While recent successes of building a travel website have been nice, it’s still a long road from here and we’ll highlight a few things that you can learn to perhaps make that long road a whole lot shorter.
For this guide, we’re not going to waste your time with the basics, as there are a gazillion articles covering that. Like, think of a name, buy a domain, start traveling, writing along the way, and all the jazz!
No, here we’ll focus on strategies and tips that will actually help you make money because, let’s face it, that’s a major goal at the end of the day.
Strategies That Work for Blogging
Strategizing from an early stage is important. As a travel blogger, you need to align those strategies with your travel goals or vice versa.
If you’re serious about growing traffic and turning a profit, you can’t treat your travel blog as a hobby. It’s a business, and it ought to be treated like one.
So, here are some proven blogging strategies that work and may do wonders for you as a beginner travel blogger:
Identify Your End Goal and Work Your Way Back
The very first thing you need to do is identify your goal, as that will help set the theme and strategize accordingly. Most experts believe that planning without a long-term goal is not effective.
What is it that you really want out of this blog? Passive income for life? Fame? Travel to all the countries in the world? Work for a charitable cause?
Write your goal on a post-it note and stick it somewhere you can see daily.
Decide Your Travel Niche or Don’t
You’ll likely hear from blog experts that you need a niche to stand out. While that’s mostly true, for a travel blog, you need to decide whether you want a niche or not.
The former does help target a very specific audience and raises your chances of growth. However, general travel blogs can also do very well.
More importantly, it sets you free to adapt as you travel and develop your blog however you want.
Follow a Schedule
Successful blogging requires a set schedule.
It doesn’t have to be super rigid as some flexibility is good and, frankly, inevitable, especially if you’re traveling. However, sticking to a schedule ensures that you’re meeting deadlines and posting timely.
Now, as for the frequency of posting, that depends on you and your audience. In the beginning, you may want to post more to create more traffic. However, that should not affect the quality of your content.
The magic number is somewhere between what you can easily manage and what satisfies your traffic goals.
Guest Post with Your Landing Page
Guest blog posting is the oldest trick in the blogger arsenal, but there’s a way to do these things. First of all, your content needs to be unique, as only then will you divert traffic back to your blog. Secondly, the landing page needs to be stellar.
Your landing page needs to have all the information the reader needs to understand you and your travels. It should direct them to some of the best content you have to offer while offering them a chance to sign up for your emails.
Of course, all this applies if and when you get a chance to guest post, which in itself is a struggle. Remember, traveling is all about making connections, and you can use that to find guest blogging opportunities.
Use Email to Generate Traffic
Did you know that there are 269 billion emails sent out every day? That number might discourage some to put email marketing on hold or not focus too much on it.
Well, emails can help generate traffic, the very kind you need for your blog. Emails will bring forward the audience that’s interested in what you’re offering. They’ll help people click on those affiliate links and help you make money off your blog.
Your emails need to be strong and presented nicely.
Stick to your guns and promote your content well. It doesn’t matter if only five people are opening your emails. But when they do, they should be compelled enough to click and visit your website.
Offer Something Valuable for Free
Another great way to drive traffic is to offer something of value for free. Many travel bloggers offer coupon codes or ebooks to bring in an audience. You could do something of the sort for your blog as well.
Maybe make an ebook about packing lists or create a handy guide to a popular destination. Offer the free ebook/guide in exchange for an email subscription. If the ebook is good, they’ll come back for more and become your regular audience.
As traffic increases, so will your profits from displaying ads on your blogs.
Beginner and Advanced SEO Strategies
Any blogger knows that the key to really stand out is search engine optimization (SEO). This is all the more relevant for bloggers who rely on blogs mostly and not social media. The latter is more about creating hype but also relies on SEO to some extent.
Now, you can easily employ basic SEO techniques that are simple enough for a beginner. Then, as you grow, you can invest in more advanced SEO techniques.
Beginner SEO Strategies:
- Target Longtail Keywords: Yes, don’t just target keywords; go for those longtail keywords. With those, you’ll see a smaller search volume, which automatically increases your odds of ranking. Plus, these also help target a very specific audience who are interested in precisely what you have to offer.
- On-Page SEO: Pull out all the SEO tricks to optimize your web pages, especially your homepage. Use craft meta descriptions, precise but punchy titles, and descriptive headlines. Use keywords in alt image text.
- Utilize External Links: For travel blogs, it can be hard to use many external links as you’re mostly writing personal stuff. However, you can incorporate articles from other blogs, especially reference research-backed content.
- Question Forums: Answering questions on Reddit and Quora can bring in traffic. It may not necessarily rank better, but it will drive traffic to your blog.
- Use Rich Media: If you make videos (or even if you don’t), make your content rich by including videos. It’s quite easy to embed a YouTube video within your article.
Advanced SEO Strategies:
- Pillar Content/Topic Clusters: Pillar content serves as the foundation of the blog and helps create those topic clusters. These are long-form articles that serve as the starting point for many other topics and blogs. Link that pillar content page on sub-topics and vice versa.
- Audit: It’s good to revisit already published content and improve it or discard it entirely. If you think a blog post can be improved, go for it. Otherwise, you may get rid of underperforming content.
- FAQs: Targeting FAQ schema is a great way to improve your rankings even further if you already rank high for certain keywords. Write your content in Q&A style, and Google will feature your content on its search pages as the answer to FAQs.
- Hire SEO Specialist: Leaders delegate work, and that leaves time to chase after the bigger goals. Once you start earning from the blog or otherwise through your travels, you can hire an SEO professional to do all this for you.
Is Pinterest Still Effective?
Travel content is typically very image-rich, which means Pinterest may be of interest to a travel blogger. Getting your images featured on Pinterest may help drive traffic. However, it really depends on your niche, as Pinterest has a very specific audience.
This is why many bloggers complain that Pinterest doesn’t really work for them. So is it for you? As a travel blogger, you do have a better shot when using Pinterest, as compared with other bloggers. Again, it’s all about the images you present on your blog.
According to Oberlo, six out of ten Pinterest users are generally female. So if you’re a female blogger, this platform can be an excellent opportunity to promote your blog.
If you’re going to use Pinterest with your blog, take your time to truly understand how it works and what it’s for. Many bloggers fail to utilize it to its full potential.
It’s important to note that Pinterest keeps on changing its algorithms, so you need to stay on top of it. Otherwise, you may see a drop in traffic you generate from there.
How Travel Blogging Is WAY Different Than Other Blogging
A travel blog is generally seen as a little different from other kinds of blogs (for example, tech, home decor, skincare, automotive, etc.). In fact, it’s actually a lot different!
First of all, many other bloggers are creating content in the comfort of their homes. On the other hand, travel bloggers are mostly on the road, in the air, or hotels with not-so-good Wifi.
As a blogger, you have to ensure you have access to the internet wherever you go. If you’re going off the beaten paths with no internet connectivity, you have to do extensive scheduling to ensure content is ready and posted as soon as you get connected again.
Sometimes you have to travel according to your content needs and not just because you want to. For instance, if a tourist destination is getting a lot of hype lately, you may think about going there to create viral-worthy content.
When you’re blogging while traveling, your travels aren’t necessarily all leisure. Instead, a lot of time is spent planning, preparing, writing, posting, and sharing. So if you expect to keep on traveling like you’re on an actual holiday, that’s not how it’s going to be!
Travel blogging also has comparatively higher initial costs if you count your traveling expenses as a travel blog expense. While you may just need to create a website to talk about pets, you may actually need to travel if you’re writing from a personal perspective.
All these differences make travel blogging a bit more challenging than some of the other kinds of blogs. However, it’s not without its pros, which include amazing experiences, genuine bonds, and, of course, good money.
The Final Take: Focus on Revenue
The one thing that gets a bad rap in blogging is the desire to build revenue streams.
A lot of people generally question the need for display advertisements or sponsored posts, but it’s important because that’s one of the main methods that can bring personal self-motivation to continue to grow your blog or can be one thing that will maintain profitability and make monetizing your hobby worth your time.
Revenue isn’t just about the tourism industry alone. There are sub-branches of tourism that still have plenty of opportunities like eco-tourism, family travel and so much more. The options are endless. You may find yourself taking your visual experiences and making them into a full-fledged online business.
Are you ready to start a travel blog? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
Author Bio: Kyle and Alex Kroeger are the owners of ViaTravelers.com. Via Travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.
What questions do you have for Kyle and Alex about growing a travel blog? Are you interested in starting a travel blog?
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