While travel blogging is often seen as one of the most desired professions out there, offering, amongst other things, prestige, the opportunity to travel and a slice of the ever-present and oh-so-lucrative travel marketing dollar, it can be somewhat difficult to break into. With developing countries fast becoming big spenders in the travel and tourism industry, there’s no better time to start making a name for yourself in the field of travel blogging. And what better place to start than your own home town, region or country.
Difference Between Travel Writing and Travel Blogging
At this point it’s probably worth making the distinction between travel writing and travel blogging. Generally, travel writers are the kind of columnists and periodical staff that produce newspaper and magazine articles, as well as editorial for many other types of publications, both on- and off-line. Having been in the industry myself, these writers are, despite often being high-quality wordsmiths, usually pen-for-hire types. The very nature of the industry demands far more positive words than negative, and that being the case, travel writers often give a skewed opinion of locations and activities.
Travel blogging, on the other hand, works on an entirely different model. Generating revenue through advertising based on popularity, you earn money – as opposed to the travel writer’s by-the-job fee – based on how good your blog is, how relevant it is to advertisers and how many hits it has. All pretty simple stuff, but those three things need to be very much at the forefront of your mind when looking at building a successful travel blog.
So, you’ve decided to start earning money as a travel blogger without leaving your house. Surely the very nature of travel blogging means that you have to travel to write? Well, this simply is not the case. Travel blogs are fast becoming the de-facto method tourist’s use to get an idea of a location before they visit. There are, of course, a number of methods of discovery for the tourist when they get to their destination, and it’s at this point your blog may become less useful to them, but rest assured, there are plenty of people visiting your town, city and country every year that need your services.
What many forget about the rapidly booming travel blogging industry is that utilizing travel blogs is not only a quick, cheap and efficient way of getting the info you need, but it’s universally more accurate and offers a much more authentic experience than, say, the tourism board’s website.
This is your big advantage over any other medium: honesty.
Tips to Become Best Travel Blogger
You are a far greater authority on your own country, town or city than any travel writer. Keep in mind that key factor and you can’t go too far wrong. To help you along the way to becoming your region’s best travel blogger, here’s a top five of essential tips that will make the difference between failure and success for your travel blog.
1) Think about the URL: self-indulgent blog domains like www.katesviewofchitown.com are unlikely to get natural search hits. Look to get search terms in your domain, such as www.thingstodoinchicago.com for better natural search results. Also try to be as specific as you can.
2) Know your market: who visits your country, town or region? There’s plenty of info online about visitors to various areas in terms of age, nationality and wealth. Tailor your blog to the largest market you possibly can.
3) Translate if necessary: it might seem obvious, but you’re going to get much more interest from Spanish tourists if you have your website in Spanish. Of course, the cost of this could be prohibitive, but it’s always worth looking into. You’ll almost certainly out do the competition with a multi-lingual site.
4) Become an authority: this is your biggest strength, and yet often a blogger’s biggest weakness. In order to build respect in the Internet community, you need to know your area inside out, and deliver that information with passion and clarity.
5) Cover the basics: tourists coming to your town will have different information needs to a local. Always cover the cost of things, food, accommodation (good and bad) and the sights, both major ones and those off the beaten track.
David Ingram is a writer focusing on travel, property and social media. By day, he works for Hunters Estate Agents in York, by night he blogs about his various journeys around Western Europe.