“You’re a travel blogger?” -this question is usually asked as more of a statement, rather than a question. Eyes are generally wide, the mouth is slightly drooling and a smile creeps across their face. “Wow, that is so cool!”
For the most part, travelling, blogging and blogging about travelling is fun. But there is a lot of hard work involved, especially if you want to monetize your blog. The fact that there are many get rich quick pitches floating around, doesn’t help. Yes, you can make money on a travel blog. No, it will not just fall into your lap as soon as you buy and read someone’s eBook. It requires work and dedication. Sound familiar?
I’m not bashing travel blogging. Hell, I am a travel blogger! However, there seems to be some misleading information floating around and I think it is important to set the record straight.
The most important piece of advice I can give you is to be yourself. Sounds simple enough, yet there are a lot of people who don’t do it. Your personality is the most important part of your blog. Nobody wants to read hollow sounding articles all the time. Sure, they may come and read a few from time to time, but the people who connect with you, are the ones that will be loyal readers and tell their friends about you. It’s the difference between reading a magazine and reading a book.
We will buy a magazine or book based on its visual appearance, advertising or recommendations from others. If we’re buying a magazine, we will generally skim the pages, look at the pretty pictures and maybe read an article or two, then toss it into the pile with all the other magazines. If we’re buying a book, we’re making an investment. We’re sitting down and delving into the pages and if we can connect with the characters, we’re hooked. We will find any and every excuse we can to set time aside to read. We will tell our friends about it, and in most cases, we will find time to read it again and again.
Blogs work in a similar way. Readers will visit your blog based on its design, things they’re friends have said or what they’ve seen mentioned through social media. If your articles lack personality, they will probably read a few and move on. If your reader connects with your personality, they will come back and tell their friends. You’ll have loyal, involved readers who love you for you.
What if nobody reads your blog? What if you don’t fit in with the other travel bloggers? Being yourself can be a scary thing, but pretending to be someone else is a lot harder and more exhausting. You don’t have to be like everyone else. Not every traveller is a party animal or wants to leave their life behind and travel the world non-stop. It just looks that way because a good chunk of blogs is about one (or both) of those things.
It Won’t Happen Overnight
Overnight success is a rare occurrence -in any field. If you’re creating a travel blog as a way to make money, be realistic with your goals and time-lines. Blogging is hard work. It requires a lot of hours, which is something that some successful bloggers don’t actually tell you about.
If you want to reach a wide audience, you may decide to join twitter or create a facebook page for your blog. Both are great ideas. However, both require time and patience. If you’re starting a travel blog just before your big trip, remember that you will probably end up spending a lot of time online. You’ll need time to write, edit your photos, post stuff on facebook and twitter and reply to messages and emails. If you’re not careful, this could eat up a lot of precious travel time -remember the trip you’re on? The one you spent years saving for?
Travel, blogging and blogging about travel is a delicate balance. Sit down and decide how much time you want to dedicate to your blog and social media while you’re away. When you’re on the road, set up times. When the ‘online time’ is over, stop everything you’re doing and close up shop. This is easier said, than done. Believe me!
It Takes Time, Be Patient!
Remember up above, where I said expecting to be an overnight success is unrealistic?
Building a travel blog with loyal readers, and solid advertisers take time. If you’re looking to monetize, you will spend a lot of time online, in the beginning, building your brand and your audience. If you’re building a blog with personality and have a blog/life balance, you’re on the right track. Be consistent. Make goals.Write interesting stories.
Visit other blogs and read the articles. What do you like about them? What would you change? How do they interact with their readers? Do you feel connected?
Finding your niche and making money off your blog will take time. Be patient and keep things consistent. Many travel bloggers do not start to see consistent income until they’re into their second year of blogging and even then it is not huge amounts of money. Yes, there are a few out there who tell you about all the fabulous money you can make. What they don’t tell you is that most of the money they make is from their other websites, not their travel blog.
ANYONE Can Be A Travel Blogger
It’s like every other job out there. Not everyone will become a CEO or make big bucks. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot try. Being a travel blogger does not mean you’ve left your life to travel the world non-stop. Anyone can be a travel blogger. Anyone can write about travel. Whether you can write an interesting blog that people will want to read is a totally different topic.
If you have a passion for travel and you want to share that passion, do it. It doesn’t matter if you work full-time and only get 2 weeks a year, or whether you’re going to quit everything and travel the world. Travelling for 3 months and then coming home for awhile does not mean you’ve stopped being a traveller or a travel blogger. There are a lot of fabulous travel bloggers who live in their home country and travel on and off throughout the year. Get to know them. Read their blogs. Learn from them.
At the end of the day, your travel blog is about YOU! If your dream is non-stop travel, great! If you love your job and travel on and off throughout the year, awesome! Create a blog that has personality, set realistic goals, spend time online, be consistent and patient. Remember that travel blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It requires a lot of work.
Andy Hayes of Travel Online Partners wrote a fabulous guest post for this blog called Common Mistakes That Travel Bloggers Make. I highly recommend giving it a read. Andy makes a lot of really good points and he knows his stuff!
I’ve been blogging here, on Spunky Girl Monologues for just over a year now. I spent the first 7 months blogging while I was working full-time and I have been travelling the remaining time. I love to travel, I love blogging and I love blogging about travel. Finding a balance between travel and blogging is hard. When I get into my zone, I tend to ride it out. Sure, I have done some fabulous things here in Asia, but I have also spent time in my room writing, tweeting and Facebooking. I make some money (Started a couple months ago), but not enough to pay my rent back home -at least not yet.
Although my time is Asia is ending this week, and I am flying back to Canada, this does not mean I stop being a traveller or a travel blogger. I have many things planned for 2011. I will continue to write about my travels from over the years, as well as my upcoming adventures. This girl may not be getting rich quick, but she is here to stay! I hope you’re here to stay too.