One of the things we’ve discovered is that, while the writing part of travel blogging is relatively easy, there is so much more to it. There are many travel blogging challenges that make it hard work! Halef and I have been to over 50 countries each. So thinking of new things to write about is not an issue. We’ve done and seen so much that this part is easy. If it was just about that, we’d have it made!
But your goal is probably not just to keep a travel journal on the Web. If so, then that’s great! But we’re guessing you want to use it in a way that not only helps readers by becoming a destination when they’re planning their own travel, but it helps you, too. To put it bluntly, you need your blog to support you eventually. That means it’s going to have to be useful to your readers.
And that’s the rub. Starting a travel blog is easy. But you really want your site to be a supplemental income for you when you’re on the road full time. It will never be a place that’s begging for money or anything like that, but it does have to be a place where, if you share an Amazon.com link to the type of backpack you use, a reader might click it and buy one for herself, giving you a small commission. Travel blogging challenges you to care about many other things besides just sharing the stories, tips, and tricks that you’ve learned along the way.
The good news for us was that, unlike a lot of people who’ve started things like this, we know we have 2-3 years to get it right!
Our travel blogging challenges
Yes, starting a travel blog is hard and, it turns out, is just as much about developing relationships as it is about good writing. Even more, if you think about it. You’re probably learning so much, even after just a short time doing this, that you never thought you’d have to know. These were our main travel blogging challenges. We bet they’re some of yours, too!
You knew this was important, but you might not have considered how much! Instagram, to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter – everything has to flow. You have to find a niche that works and stick with it. Right now, you may not have many followers on either. And that’s ok, because you’re just starting. But you need to really focus on what’s working, what’s not, and how you can make people stick around and engage them when they do. That’s WORK!
The blog itself
After blogging for a while, we’ve started working with a friend who does a lot of site development like this for a living. He was very helpful in focusing us on what we needed to do right now. You might try engaging with someone more experienced than you to help you figure that stuff out. No need to do everything at once! We will add more functionality eventually. But there’s not rush for us, or you! When you’re first starting a travel blog, your web site doesn’t have to be spectacular, but there’s a lot of technical stuff to blogging and how the audience engages with the site itself that you likely won’t know much about at first. It’s not just a blog page and a few static information pages. The layout and arranging that information is even more important.
Search Engine Optimization
This is one of the bigger travel blogging challenges we faced (and still are!) Do a lot of reading on this, add Yoast SEO as a plug-in on your blog. And pay for the Premium package. It’s worth it! And when you get as far as you can on your own, ask for help! A great place to start is Travel Blog Success. They have a great course that includes some of this stuff. Plus, they give you access to a Facebook page where people are always willing to help you!
Did you know such a thing existed when you started? We didn’t! Now we do! DA is determined by an algorithm that “judges” the authority of your site. Right now, yours is probably low. It is for everyone who’s just starting. And that’s because no matter how much you think you know about a topic, it’s even more important how much OTHER people think you know about a topic. If you write a post about “How to Fly to the Moon,” it might be a perfect step-by-step guide for how to do that, but if other good quality sites haven’t noticed your guide and haven’t linked to it, then the algorithm won’t notice.
Basically, you can know everything. But if other people aren’t linking to the guys who know everything, then no one cares! So relationships with other bloggers is one of the travel blogging challenges you’ll face. You have to get out there every day and build relationships. “Fake it till you make it!” doesn’t apply here. Focus on that just as much as on the writing going forward. And hey! If you’re a blogger and see anything worth linking to here – hint hint!!
It’s a lot bigger than we had imagined when we started. It probably is for you, too. My guess is that it was that way for almost everyone. Every big, beautiful, informative, high domain authority blog I’ve read over the past several months was probably started exactly where you are right now. Down in the gutter, working to claw their way into the mainstream.
Stick with it
If your blog is going to support your travels, then you need to be in it for the long haul. Your blog is not only a place to write and share. It’s also your JOB.
Over a few months, your social media will become more focused and your site more of a tool than just a place to read a post or two. After all, if you just share an occasional cool story, there’s no reason for readers to stick around other than to read that one post. Your blogging goal needs to be to create a place where readers visit and naturally continue reading beyond what they came for initially. You want readers to visit because they find it useful for when they’re planning their own travel.
So stick with it, learn as much as you can, read other blogs, copy some of the cool things they do (without plagiarizing, of course!) and continue to write. It’s definitely work, but all those pesky travel blogging challenges aside, it will be work you enjoy. Because, in the end, like us, travel is what you want to do. And more than that, you want your readers to do it. If you get this right, your blog will become a destination for your readers!
And thank you for reading The Round the World Guys!