You started a blog and you finally want to become a professional travel blogger? In this post you can find some tips after my first 5 years of blogging.
If you are not interested in blogging, but are looking for travel articles go to my travels page.
If you've already read my post on how to start a travel blog, the time has come to take the next step, that is to begin to understand how make blogging a business.
In short, you have your own blog and your social channels, you regularly write your travel articles and therefore you can define yourself as a blogger in all respects, but how to really start treating your blog like a professional?
According to wikipedia the definition of professional is the following: the professional it is the person who, in relation to an activity from this turning point, derives income from it.
But what is one of the essential elements to become a professional travel blogger and then start making money from your blog?
The most important thing in my opinion is to put passion into what you do, of course, but not only.
Yes why become a professional travel blogger it takes so much of that work that you will never make it if you don't love what you do.
So ask yourself if you'd be willing to write for free for years. For years.
I suppose I am a person who has many passions: horses, reading, photography. Oh already travel too, of course. And write, of course.
Professional travel blogging is hard work and HUGE commitment. In fact, you will have to write, work on the photographs, study a lot BEFORE you start earning anything.
And if you don't like doing it, can you still do it?
Another thing. If you don't love your blog, why should your readers love it?
1 - Build your audience: a blogger is nothing without his readers
The thing that most people who start a blog ask themselves is how to make money with a travel blog?
In my opinion, however, the first question we ask ourselves should be: how I build my audience?
Because the hard truth is that you will earn income with your blog once you have a decent audience. Think about the readers first, and the money after.
Readers are the most valuable thing a blogger can have.
Travel agencies and tourism offices work with bloggers because they have an audience that trusts them, their work and their opinions.
And how do you build your audience?
Write original things: think different!
Really be who you are. Don't be afraid to expose yourself or show what you like and what you don't. Yes sincere in your considerations and judgments: the moment you take advantage or betray your audience, you are destroying your most precious asset.
Write interesting and original things. There is nothing worse than writing boring things or reading and rereading a billion times.
Put your personality into it, tell curious anecdotes or funny stories. Tell a place from your personal point of view.
When you start a blog you tend to watch and imitate too much what others are doing. I know it happens to everyone, it also happens to me to tell myself: if he was successful maybe there is a reason and then I do like him.
5-6 years ago, some blogs were popular because they were first, they had no competition, and were able to build an audience simply through pure novelty. There are now thousands of travel blogs, so try not to copy what others have done.
Whatever you are about to write, try to present the topic you are talking about in a way that has never been done before. If everyone is sharing sponsored content or blog touring content, write down how to do that trip yourself and do it yourself. If everyone is writing text, make a video. If everyone is serious, be fun.
In short, think different, as does Apple. Put your own!
The purpose of your blog must be to share your voice and opinion.
As soon as you depersonalize it, people stop listening. You will never build an audience interested in what you write if they have already found it elsewhere. Even if practically all the topics have already been covered, you write them all the same trying to give a different point of view: yours.
Write for readers not yourself
I will never tire of saying it: write for your readers, not yourself.
Writing a travel journal for family and friends is easy, but other than them, no one else cares a damn. If you want people to read or follow you, write something that is useful to them, that interests them, that they are interested in solve a problem.
Travel advice, advice on food, on things to do in a certain destination, advice on which hotels you know, where you have been and where you have enjoyed yourself.
Of course you will still have to do things you enjoy and pursue your passions, but at the same time try to provide something that is of value to your readers.
Okay, and how do I know what my readers are interested in, you ask me? I use different "techniques" if I can call them that.
A very useful tool is certainly google trendsBut not only.
I participate in Facebook groups, various travel forums and I also get a lot of comments and emails through the blog. I try from these "sources" to understand the questions that readers ask most often.
If you think about it, it is not so difficult to understand what people need since they are the ones who ask you!
For example after my trip to Argentina I received a lot of emails asking me what itinerary I had done and what I suggested: this is how my post was born 4 itineraries for a trip to Argentina. The same for theitinerary in Israel.
So I win twice: first because readers find examples to follow, from which to take inspiration and which respond exactly to their requests, second because I don't have to rewrite it all the time and therefore save a lot of time.
Find your niche
If you want to be a successful travel blogger, you need to find your purpose and become an authority on something so that people trust what you say.
When I opened ForToursLovers, it was easy enough to create a travel blog focused onfemale adventure because the competition was still quite low.
There are now too many well-established blogs and websites and standing out among them is really, really difficult (and you'd also be far behind in Google's search results.)
Finding a niche instead you could cover a wide range of travel topics and have little competition from other bloggers.
Try to be as focused as possible on the topics you know well. Whether it is travel on the road, on a bike, in a certain destination or just in your small town, the power of google allows everyone to still be able to reach thousands of potential readers.
In fact, being niche now is better than trying to have a more generalist site.
Plus, finding a niche allows you to become an expert. You can be the person readers always turn to for information on this topic or destination, which allows you to cultivate a stronger online presence.
Don't try to be everything to everyone. Go deep.
2 - Write guest post
Writing guest posts for established blogs that are "bigger" than you have a double advantage: first you make yourself known to the audience of that blog. Second you get a backlink (please always ask for it and ask for it to follow and that it stays forever). This helps to grow your authority on google.
For google, in fact, if a blog gives you a link it is as if it were making you a recommendation. As if a person of great fame introduces you to his audience as a reliable friend.
Always ask for the link, please, otherwise it would be like giving away content.
Many use the technique of writing guest posts just to get the link or trade the series: you quote me and I quote you.
Here don't do it. If you write a guest post it must be valuable content, after all that blog is doing you, in a way, a favor.
On the other hand, according to the link exchange, know that it is of little use: it is google to tell you. Yes, you can try to do the threesome I link to Caio, Caio to Sempronio and Sempronio to me, but personally it seems to me the game of the 3 carabinieri (and it is not certain that in the future google will not discover you).
Personally I don't use these techniques, I prefer to write a well done guest post (so the host is happy), but I never do any link exchange, in any way.
I will not go into the link building discussion here because it is very vast and because it is not the topic of this post, but know that it is a topic that is very close to my heart and that if you want to study it, a whole world will open to you.
3 - Learn SEO
True, you can drive traffic to your blog by sponsoring your posts on social media for example, like Facebook or twitter, but trust me nothing has the same power as SEO.
What is SEO? L'search engine optimization (Search Engine Optimization) is when you write your content so that users find your post by searching for a specific query on google.
Many people, especially young bloggers, view SEO with terror, as if it were a voodoo technique impossible for poor human beings to understand.
That's why I invest a lot in it instead: because if I position a post well in SERP (Search Engine Result Page) the article will continue to attract readers for a shorter or longer time (until others write a better post than yours) .
Don't be afraid of what you don't understand. Instead, take the time to learn and practice the technique. Or hire a professional to help you understand the main concepts. Like it or not, making sure Google (and the world at large) can find your great content is an indispensable part of building a successful website.
As far as I'm concerned Blogging and SEO are and will always be essential to each other.
As an example of a taste of how I use SEO, let's take a look at this article I'm writing (and if you found it in the top search results then I did it!).
The keyphrase I want to try to place is “how to become a travel blogger”. This term is found in some places like the URL, the title, the meta description, the first paragraph, a subtitle and sometimes even in the content.
I renamed the
Don't enter the keyphrase dozens of times in your post for two very simple reasons: the first, technical, is that it is absolutely useless. The positioning on the search engine is not directly proportional to the number of times you use that keyphrase in the post, on the contrary it could lead to penalties for what is called keyword stuffing.
The second is that entering that keyphrase too many times makes reading difficult and boring (think of your readers first!)
If you wonder but how do I know if I entered the right number? Don't ask yourself again, just keep in mind that the reading must be fluid.
Together withSEO optimization, also increase theauthority of your site it's really important.
What is authority: Authority is something you get when others talk about you and your brand and maybe even put you a nice link pointing to your homepage or one of your articles.
However, SEO is a huge topic, always evolving and a paragraph of an article is certainly not enough to explain it.
4 - Participate in Blogger Events
To make a name for yourself in blogging and find future collaborations, networking at conferences it is the thing that I think works the most of all. It is an investment in time and money (you will have to pay for travel, food and accommodation), but it's worth it.
After all, with all the bloggers who constantly pit hotels, tourism organizations and more, surely knowing potential partners in person gives you an edge.
When you meet potential business partners, colleagues and customers in person you will have an advantage over those who don't have this relationship. In fact, if you were them, would you prefer to invest in a blogger you've never seen or heard of or on one you know personally?
Here you will find the events that I attend more or less regularly:
- TTG: a fair, within which there are spaces dedicated to meetings between bloggers and partners. Ideal especially if you are just starting out and don't want to spend a lot, perhaps to participate in a fair abroad.
- ITB Berlin
- WTM London
- TBEX Europe
Online networking also has its advantages. Stay active in blog groups, forums, and social media conversations. Little by little people will get to know you and you will grow what is called brand awareness.
There are many facebook groups for networking: choose a couple carefully and participate. Being registered in 10.000 groups and not participating in anyone is of no use to you.
5 - Create a Professional Mediakit
A mediakit is like a resume for your blog.
It is the best and most professional way to present your blog to potential sponsors and companies.
You can print it and bring it to events, or attach it to your email when you write to a customer.
You can create a nice digital mediakit using something like canva e Joomag, or by simply using word or powerpoint.
The indispensable things to include in your medkit are definitely up what your blog focuses on (what kind of travelers is it aimed at? Responsible tourism, solo travel, family travel etc etc), i blog numbers (number of pageviews and some information about your target audience such as where your readers come from, gender and average age) and your social channels.
Make sure you include your mediakit (or if you don't want to, write that partners can contact you to request it) in a page on your blog of your choice but where those looking for it can easily find it.
If you want to get an idea of how to make a mediakit (more or less) on the page Work with Me find mine downloadable in pdf.
6 - Invest in Social Channels
Be active on social media is an important part of becoming a professional travel blogger. But right now it got really frustrating. My advice is to be efficient and take care of them, but don't go crazy over them and don't waste more time than necessary.
I generally open Facebook once a day to post and reply to all comments as quickly as possible. If you want to get better results with social media you have to put a lot of consistency.
I still haven't been able to figure out if there are better times to post on various social networks, I experiment every day.
Remember to be social on social media. This means actively responding to comments and commenting on others' posts as well. In short, create interaction.
Very often I notice that some bloggers tag tourist boards without mercy. Entities or partners should be tagged if there is a campaign with them, not to get visibility or get noticed. This is not how you make yourself known, so you become intrusive.
I noticed that postcard-like photos with short captions work well, as well as images with quotes that I don't use (I don't like them, in fact I would say that I'm quite tired of seeing photos with clichés seen and reviewed until I pass out). Better to upload a few photos, I upload a maximum of 4 per post, never more.
Instead, the links to the blog are not working as they once did. Facebook doesn't want to take people off its platform, so links are generally less effective than photos.
4-5 posts or updates per day. Here, too, he tries to create interaction. I use a hashtag at most and I hardly tag entities unless I have some campaign with them in progress.
I've found that posting less is increasing my engagement per photo. I like to use hashtags in the caption, and until recently it worked well for visibility to use another 20-25 targeted hashtags in the first comment (but today it seems no longer needed). The longer descriptions seem to work well. Here, too, storytelling should be done.
There are other major social media platforms like Pinterest and YouTube that I personally don't use as I don't have enough time for everything so I prefer to focus on something else.
7 - Do not always want to travel for free
Why do people still buy paper guides? Because they want an independent opinion on the destinations.
If everything you write is sponsored by someone, sooner or later your readers will get fed up.
Readers are looking a lot nowadays DIY and independent travel content as most of them travel this way.
And how do you blogger give advice on how to organize a trip for example if someone else did it for you?
Plus what I don't like about blog tours is that generally there are more bloggers (and fifth of your competitors) who will all eventually do the same things and write the same content.
This means your content will hardly be unique. It happened to me very recently that I was in a city where they had held a blog tour with many bloggers. The result was that all the articles I read were the same identical: the same things to visit, the same things to do, the same things to eat.
None of those posts gave me unique content. As a result, I went crazy trying to find something different.
I'm not saying that if they offer you a free 5.000 euro trip not to go there, on the contrary do it (God forbid). But don't base all your travels on this.
Plus, one-off free trips don't pay your bills. Better to focus on personal projects, built for you and your niche and in which a budget is available for your work.
8 - Do not be in a hurry to want to make money with the blog
It happened to me and it will happen to you too: after the first few months you will begin to receive emails from agencies or other bloggers who offer you insert articles with paid links offering you ridiculous figures to say the least.
For example, I was offered 20 euros. Thinking about it now I don't know whether to get pissed off or laugh.
The first temptation you will have will be to accept. But stop for a second and read the things I'm about to write to you.
First think about what I just told you in this article: is the link or article they ask you to write useful for your readers?
Is the link they ask you to place contextualized to your blog or is it in line with the person you are?
Is the article they offer you unique and original or copied elsewhere or posted on other blogs?
They offered me a little thought to put a link to some shotguns. Apart from the fact that I am also a vegetarian, but think what those who read me would have thought and that they know I love animals. Think if this link has anything to do with a travel blog.
Among other things, he thinks that this link could potentially be dangerous for you and for what you are investing time and money on.
In fact, the greatest risk, apart from any penalties by the search engine, is that your blog becomes a container of links. This significantly lowers the quality and sooner or later you will pay the price.
Now ask yourself if it's really worth it to put all this at risk for 20 euros.
9 - Invest in your project
Each project requires an investment. Remember, if you want to become a professional travel blogger, you have to treat your blog as a business not as a personal travel journal.
This means investing not only in the blog itself, choosing a paid hosting and a professional theme, but also invest in advertising.
Investing in social networks, for example, allows you to reach more people potentially interested in becoming your followers (even if I hate this word, I use it just to understand), or simply to have your articles read.
Invest to go to blogger events. Invest in a good book or in advertisements on other blogs. In short, if you want to do things right you have to think that there is a budget to invest. At first you may not have much money to put into it, but keep this in mind for your future.
Everyone does it if you think about it: those who sell courses do it, photographers do it, newspapers do it, in short, almost all those who do business invest a part of their budget for their project.
10 – Last but not Least: Insisti sempre!
The key thing is this: always insist. There will surely be times when you will think that the investment of time and money is not worth the candle. There will be times when no one will sneak past a post that you thought would be a great success.
There will be times when you realize that you are taking time away from your private life.
There will be times when you will present a project to an institution or a potential partner and you will not even receive an answer from the series: no thanks (do you know how many times this has happened to me and I still get nervous about it today?)
There will be tons of moments where you will wonder who the hell made you do this and you will want to drop everything. Here is the time to jump the wall.
That will be the moment when you decide what you want to be.
Create a project that lasts over time. Be prepared to work hard for at least a year before you begin to see the fruits of your labor.
After all, as the Morcheeba said a few years ago: Rome wasn’t build in a day!
Best of luck!