Blogging for a living: it’s the dream, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to write and travel for a living? Who wouldn’t want to be their own boss on their own time? Sadly, few of us ever achieve that dream. The story is always the same– life gets in the way, hit counts stay low, and the travel blog never really takes off. However, your blog doesn’t have to end up in the dusty annals of forgotten websites that nobody updates anymore. You can live the reality of turning your travel blog into a business. Here are some secrets of the trade.
A lot. There are about a bazillion and five articles out there about how your blog can become viral overnight and make you thousands. Sorry, but most of these just aren’t true. Notice that they’re almost always attached to something you have to buy in order to learn how to do it. If you want your blog to succeed, you’re going to have to put in some good old fashioned effort to make it happen. And it will take time. That’s OK, though, because things built over time tend to actually last.
2 Carve out the time.
To write a travel blog, you need to travel. So make sure you can commit to doing activities that make for interesting stories. Also, you need to post regularly. Don’t post three days in a row and then disappear for a month. Schedule in your blog time every few days so that you can keep your readers supplied with lots of great content.
3 Write great content.
Even though a polished, streamlined website is important, it doesn’t matter how shiny and flashy your template is, if your content stinks. If your writing is boring and redundant, your hits will be perpetually low. Write things that excite people! A good place to start is to write things that excite you. If you can write great content in a fresh, personable voice, you’ll be bound to have plenty of faithful followers.
4 Learn SEO.
You can’t expect your blog to do well if you’re not search engine optimized. There isn’t enough space to write specifics here, but you can learn a lot about SEO for free online, or even take a class to really get it down. There are also plenty of SEO experts out there who can help you get started.
5 Be a guest blogger.
Get your name out there. Write for other people’s blogs. Let them write for yours. The blogosphere is a friendly place, and readers love to get a new voice on their favorite blogs now and then. If you can write an engaging piece for someone else, you’re likely to gain the admiration (and subscriptions) of plenty of readers.
6 Don’t limit yourself.
Who says you have to stick to your own blog? You can make money writing travel posts for other peoples’ blogs. In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now: writing a travel blog piece for another website. That’s what I do for a living. There are many online freelance platforms where you can open up a mini writing business and start building a great professional portfolio. All of them are different, and you just have to find the one that works for you. Many sites will also include an author bio under your article, which you can use to share a link to your blog for readers who want more. Again, this kind of job takes time to become a full-time gig. So don’t quit your day job until you’re pretty established in the writing world.
7 Become an affiliate blogger.
A lot of bloggers support their blogging habit by adding affiliate links to their website. While I’m rather skeptical of people who claim to have built an overnight fortune this way, there are people who make a nice addition to their income with affiliate links. And it really doesn’t hurt to try.
8 Sell something.
If you’re not selling your writing itself, then your writing has to sell something. Otherwise, it’s a hobby and not a profession, right? Find something great to sell on your blog. Make a Café Press site full of apparel with your site’s funny catchphrases. Or write a book that has to do with your travel adventures. Or find something totally new and wacky, like hand-crocheted panda bear camera bags. One tip, though—don’t turn your whole blog into a giant ad for your product. There’s no quicker way to lose your followers.
Yup, social media is a huge key to blog success. I sort of hate Pinterest. And Twitter. And Facebook. However, these things are one hundred percent necessary if your blog is going to succeed beyond your little circle of best friends. Make a Facebook page for your blog, and update it daily with things related to your blog. Connect your Instagram to your website’s Facebook page. Add plenty of photos to pin on every post, too. Actually, I’ve heard many successful bloggers say that that their biggest source of new readers is Pinterest. So never underestimate the power of the pin.
Good luck on your travel blog endeavors! If you follow this advice, do a lot of research, and keep plugging away, you’re bound to make your travel blog dreams come true. Remember, the most important thing about your travel blog is to make sure that you love doing it. If your enthusiasm shines through, then the enthusiasm of others is sure to follow. Happy writing!