Travel Blogging for Beginners

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Some of the most popular types of blogs today are those that focus around travel. There could be a large number of reasons for this – the biggest being the aspirational status of travel today.

Most people try and save some of the money they earn every month to fund their travels. It could be a quick trip from the city, a trip to the city, or a major trip out of the country – maybe to Europe or South East Asia. There is, however, another group of people who are turning this interest into a full-time job and earning money while they see the world.

They have set up blogs dedicated to travel, along with accounts on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and gained a huge fan following. Travel bloggers are the entertainers of today, who let you see the world through their posts and give you major “wanderlust”.

Do you want to learn more about how you too can start a travel blog of your own? Keep reading for a pragmatic answer!

Is It Possible?

There are more and more travel blogs coming up every day. The scene is pretty crowded as it qualifies for the “dream job” that lets you see the world and make money while you’re at it. No more long hours at a desk when you can be wading through the paddy fields in Bali, right?

The large number of blogs that crop up every day is the biggest challenge to the profession. Everyone wants to go to fancy hotels in beautiful locations and not pay a dime. Everyone wants invitations from tourism boards across the globe to come and enjoy a week in their country – an all-expense paid trip!

The reality is not so rose tinted. First and foremost, travel blogging requires you to build a niche for yourself. It has to be an area that is unique to you and interest a good amount of people so that you can build a reader base. It can’t be a broad, general field that has thousands of other bloggers. Choose something that will be engaging and also close to you.

It is very time consuming and you will never be off the job if you choose to become a travel blogger and want to make money off it. It’s not good enough to put up a post or two every couple of days. You need to have a plan and a layout. A particular number of posts need to go up every week without the content being compromised.

If you do manage to keep your blog afloat through the initial stage and develop a good enough readership base, you will still need to be persistent with content. That is key for you to be able to make blogging a full-time career.

The only way to get instant success is to go viral somewhere on the internet but the chances of that happening are very low and you should keep your expectations realistic. You will probably have to be immersed in the blogging business completely for at least a year before a steady source of sustainable income starts to come in.

So before you dive into the ocean of travel blogging, make sure that you’re well equipped to handle the waves, especially initially. Even if you make it through the initial year or so with hard work, you will have to work even harder in the time that follows. Long hours, huge distances and a life on the go are some of the many things you will have to get used to in the process.

Examples of People Doing It

There are a large number of successful travel blogs that started off small but are well known today. They make enough money to not only sustain their travels, but also diversify into lots of other parallels. Keep reading to get inspired.

The Bucket List Family, the blog started by husband-wife duo Garrett and Jessica Gee, is one of the top earning blogs today. They did not start with the same level of success that they have today. The couple sold off everything they had to fulfill their dream of traveling the world and started their journey in 2015 with $45,000.

Almost three years later, the couple and their three children are still on the move and haven’t had to spend even a penny out of the original amount that they started off with.

Another example is the Beautiful Destinations Instagram handle that was started by entrepreneur Jeremy Jauncey to showcase beauty from across the globe. The page now has over 11.5 million followers, allowing Jauncey to diversify and start a content management company of his own!

Do You Travel, the blog started by Jack Morris when he was a young man fed up with his job, is another big example of how you can make it big as a travel blogger. Morris started an Instagram page to finance his travels when he was short on cash. The page now has about 3 million followers on the social media platform.

In addition to charging about $9,000 for a sponsored post, Morris also makes money through his Lightroom editing presets, which sell for between $40 and $120 for the mobile versions and about $80 and $250 for the desktop versions.

Matt Kepnes, who is also a New York Times bestselling author, started his blog when he wanted a break from his day job. In 2006, he quit to pursue travel full time and now runs one of the most successful travel blogs – Nomadic Matt. One of the older players in the field of travel blogging, Kepnes initially started monetizing his blog by selling text links. This was way back in 2009 but now the times have changed and this does not remain an option. Instead, he has kept up with the times by diversifying the blog’s strategy over the years.

Lastly, Russian photographer Murad Osmann and his wife Nataly Osmann have been recreating travel blogging with their iconic style where Nataly leads Murad towards an exotic location. A rage across social media platforms, their #FollowMeTo trend has led to thousands of users posting pictures in the exact same way.

How Hard Is It to Set up Your Own Travel Blog?

There are a large number of travel blogs on the internet but a good analogy is comparing this field to the restaurant business. Even if there are tons of eateries, it doesn’t mean you should not go out and open yours – especially if you’re bringing something new to the table. If you feel you can churn out better content than what you see around you, go out and create! Don’t worry about the number of competing blogs, concentrate on the quality of what you produce.

Things may have been very different 10 years back but now it is a very simple process that you need to follow to have your blog up and running!

Back then, you had to learn HTML and hand code your website. It was a slow process and one that needed special expertise. Things aren’t the same now. It is much easier to set up your own travel blog with the help of WordPress. It is a simple platform designed to suit the needs of those of you who aren’t too comfortable with technology or don’t have the in-depth knowledge that was necessary at one time.

WordPress is the source of almost over 25% of the content created on the internet and is the most highly recommended platform to start your blog on. It’s easy to use and super flexible with regards to what you want to do with it, starting from a simple journal to a large e-commerce website.

The first thing you need to do when you get started is to choose a name for your blog. There are no strict rules regarding what you can name it but keep in mind that it should resonate with your content. It should be attractive enough to grab some eyeballs and yet versatile enough to showcase all the content that you are planning to put under it.

Pick the domain name and then move on to registering it and buying hosting. There are a number of companies that provide basic hosting but they may be a little complicated. Some of the more widely known ones are HostGator and Bluehost, especially for when you get started, but don’t spend too much money on this in the initial phase of your blog!

The next step is to install WordPress, an open-source web publishing application built to make it easier for regular people to blog. It is a content management system and blogging tool that was built by expert developers and contributors. Once this is done, your website is up and running! You will, however, have to go and personalize it according to your taste and in line with your website’s content.

You will have to install plugins and customize your theme, after which you can create your main pages – the pages that will be visible to all those who visit your website. These can include the about page, the contact page and the privacy page, in addition to all the content that you will be putting together for your travel blog.

Ways You Can Monetize and Get Paid to Travel

Firstly, you need to decide when you want to monetize your blog. A lot of people prefer to add advertisements to their content right from the start so that they can bring in a small income right from the start. Some successful bloggers, however, disagree with this.

They believe that you must build content and get a particular number of unique views organically before you start showing ads or taking on sponsored posts. This will allow your audience to believe in your content instead of being bombarded with ads for things they may not be interested in.

In order to make money from your blog, you will need to invest in it. This is not only a financial investment; it is more on the lines of time and effort. Your blog will not be a success overnight. You will need months to come up with your brand and learn what works best for you.

Diversification is your best bet for monetizing your blog. It has to be a mix of different ways.

Sponsored content is one of the most widely used ways of monetizing your blog or getting paid to travel. Affiliate links are another good way of making money off your blog. Here you do not get paid for the link, instead, you get a commission when you link to a product or service from your blog and a reader makes a purchase through that link.

You can create content for other websites and get paid for that once you have a decent standing in the field. You can also create a product or write an e-book, which can be sold to those reading your blog. Banner ads are another way to earn some money but they are not held in high esteem, especially by successful bloggers.

If your blog is doing well, brands will approach you for partnerships or maybe even an ambassadorship. Press trips are also one of the most common sources of paid travel for travel bloggers. These trips usually include flights, all transport, food and entertainment for the duration of your visit. You can also charge for your services in addition to this.

Lastly, you can always use your creativity to come up with something that hasn’t been done before. Originality is always paid for well. It will set your blog apart from the others in the realm and increase your worth in travel blogging.

Ideas on How to Get Free Stuff and Trips

It’s not easy to start blogging about travel and immediately hope for free trips to be handed to you. It involves a good amount of research. You will have to build relationships and grow your audience. In addition to this, you should know a few tricks.

You need to have confidence in what you are doing and this confidence should reflect in your pitch to a hotel or company that you want to stay at or want free stuff from. Your reader base is unique to you and that will be the selling point for most companies. Make a few calls, talk to people and make them believe in your worth – this is where your free trips are going to start.

Be prepared. Have a media kit ready for your blog and spend time coming up with your unique selling proposition (USP). This will show why you stand out from others in the game and why they should work with you.

Building contacts is very important. If you have a destination in mind, don’t be afraid to use Google to find contacts, especially if you don’t have any existing contacts in the country or city. A simple search – “all opinions are my own + {travel destination} blog” – can get you a list of blogs that may have worked with brands in the city already. This will help you get in touch with the right people.

Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people. The way you reach out will also make a difference. A vague and impersonal email will not get you anywhere, as it is most likely to be deleted without a second thought. Put together a well thought out email, with references to some personal details, and it will surely be noticed.

You can also join groups at third-party sites that connect you to companies and brands that may be looking for bloggers and social media influencers for a particular product or trip. Examples of these are iambassabor, Revfluence, The Blogger Programme, Coopertize and Tinflur among others.

Be upfront about what you will be providing in return for the free stuff and trips that are on the table.

All the freebies do not come as soon as you start blogging. It takes time, emails with no replies and a number of rejections before things start looking up. Do not be disheartened, especially if you want to stay in the business. Not everyone that you reach out to will be looking for someone that offers what you are willing to provide. Keep in mind – it doesn’t hurt to try!

Finally, travel blogging is a full-time occupation that will get you as much in return as you put in – in terms of hard work, resources, time and thought. You can be a successful blogger in the field of travel if you’re ready to create content that is widely engaging and resonates with the people who visit your blog.

Keep your social media presence at a healthy and happy level and do not let the success (or lack of it) get to you! Time and effort should result in a decent turnover, which can be multiplied with more and more time in the field.

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