You want to become a travel blogger, but wondering exactly how to start a travel blog?
If you’re like me, then I have no doubt that the thought of travelling to far flung destinations and exploring different cultures, foods and sights from across the globe sparks your imagination and fuels your desire to experience and explore this wonderful world we live in.
Travel blogging has increased in popularity in the last few years, so much so that you can find travel blogs on just about any topic ranging from luxury travel, budget backpacking, best hiking adventures, and so much more.
But how is that so many world travelers manage to turn this very passion into a full-time job and business! Well, you’re in luck, because there is a way to do exactly that!
Now, for some home truths before we get into the nitty gritty of how to become a travel blogger and make money! Whilst you may have read of overnight success stories when it comes to bloggers turning this dream into a reality, you may have to adjust your expectations if you’re serious about turning this passion into a lucrative business.
Travel blogging takes a lot of hard work, time, patience and networking in order to create a profitable business that could eventually supplement your full-time income. Even more so for amateur bloggers who are just starting out and need to learn the ins and outs of SEO and other blogger related disciplines.
I don’t say this to dissuade you from starting a blog! It’s an incredible and fulfilling journey and one that you should absolutely pursue, especially if you have a penchant for travel and writing.
If you’ve been wondering whether it’s possible to start your own travel blog, you’ve come to the right place. Starting your own travel blog has many components, so in this guide I’m going to outline the very basic, high-level steps and processes to help you guide you along your path to successfully creating a travel blog of your own.
- Step 1: Settle on a Travel Blog Niche
- Step 2: Decide on a Travel Blog Name
- Step 3: Brainstorm Travel Blog Content Ideas
- Step 4: SEO and link building for your Travel Blog
- Step 5: Monetize your blog for financial success
Step 1: Settle on a Travel Blog Niche
Define what you will write about
A “niche” is defined as a specific area of focus, so if you’re interested in beginning your own travel blog, you’ve started on the first step.
However, within the topic of travel, there are many subtopics. When creating a travel blog, it’s vital that you first decide on your main focus area. Are you interested in sports while traveling? Do you always travel to beaches? Are you a solo or budget traveler? Or do you want to start a camping travel blog?
The most important thing to remember when picking your travel blog niche is to select something you are interested in. If you’re passionate about your travel blog’s subject matter, the posts will practically write themselves!
Who is your Target Audience?
With so many great travel niche ideas to choose from, it may help to narrow down your target audience.
A lot of people will search out specific travel blogs centered around a select point of interest, such as birding, surfing, or cooking. This helps you narrow your focus and attract readers passionate about the same things that you are.
Your own passion for a subject is one of the most important things to keep your readers interested. If a reader can sense that you’re genuinely passionate about a topic, they’ll be more likely to follow your blog.
Your blog’s focus is bound to change and develop over time based on your interests and feedback from readers. However, keeping a general focus area is good to ensure your blog stays on track and doesn’t become disjointed and confusing to your reader.
Research Competitive Travel Niches
Travel blogging is no longer about simply writing up journal style entries of your travels and hoping it sticks. You’ll need to strike a balance between writing captivating yet informative posts that will appeal to your selected niche audience.
This will need to involve an understanding of key SEO principles and practices in order to drive organic traffic to your site through search engines such as Google.
So, before settling on a niche, it’s critical that you research your chosen niche’s competitiveness. How easy will it be to rank for high volume keywords, is there a sizable audience search for the types of posts you want to write and how many other high-ranking blogs already cover this niche.
After all, you wouldn’t want to pour in years of hard work and effort only to realise down the line that you’ve wasted time and resources on an oversaturated niche that will require a great deal more effort and dedication to get off the ground.
That’s why researching and defining your travel blog niche is the most critical first step to successfully starting a travel blog.
Step 2: Decide on a Travel Blog Name
Once you’ve settled your niche, the next exciting would be deciding on a travel blog name and brand identity. This is definitely something you should put a lot of consideration into since readers will get their first impression of your travel blog based on its name.
Play around with travel blog name ideas and get feedback from friends or fellow travelers to see what they think. A good name should hint at the travel blog niche you’re focusing on. Try playing around with words, spellings, puns, or creative twists on travel terms.
At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that your name should be versatile enough to allow your blog to naturally evolve over time. You may decide to launch a foodie travel blog centered around Spain and name it accordingly, but as you travel and explore you decide to incorporate other food related destinations into the same blog. This would of course become more difficult if you included ‘Spain’ into the blog name.
Also bear in mind that unique travel blog names are often short and concise. Try to stick a maximum of three to four words at most. You want your audience to easily remember your name and hopefully return time and time again after reading your awesome content!
Lastly, many good travel blog names are those that steer clear or the expected and usual terms such as wanderer, wanderlust or nomad for instance.
A top tip is to consider using a name generator site such as Name Mesh, DomainWheel or Wordoid to name but a few.
Step 3: Brainstorm Travel Blog Content Ideas
Now you’ve defined your niche and name, it’s time to start producing travel content for your blog.
This step goes hand-in-hand with defining a travel blog niche, but here, you’re actually digging into the content matter itself.
If your travel blog niche is about great hiking experiences while traveling, travel content ideas might include selecting the right hiking boots to bring, what backpacks are best for day-hikes, or what time of year to travel to a specific area.
Again, make sure your travel blog’s content are things you have knowledge of and personally find interesting.
Really, the sky’s the limit when it comes to brainstorming travel blog post ideas! You could have a travel blog about diving, a blog focused on a specific area or country to travel in, or a food blog about the best regional foods to try when traveling.
You can also brainstorm ideas about how to present information in your blog. Photos are a crucial component to a successful travel blog, and you’ll need to decide if you’ll be providing the pictures yourself or sourcing them.
Above all, make sure that your content always adds value to your target audience and addresses the relevant user intent behind the keywords you are targeting.
Step 4: SEO and link building for your Travel Blog
If you want to have a successful travel blog, you’ll need to become an expert at SEO – or Search Engine Optimization. To optimize the traffic that you get to your blog, you’ll need to select keywords and phrases that readers are most likely to search for when browsing the web. KeySearch is my go-to affordable keyword research tool I use to do exactly this!
Sign up today, and use discount code KSDISC, to get an even better price when signing up to KeySearch.
I’ll admit, this topic covers a vast range of terms and topics that you’ll need to put time and effort into mastering.
Understanding on-page as well as off-page SEO, which includes both post optimization for SEO as well as link building (for instance through travel guest posting), is probably the most important element in creating a successful travel blog.
Whilst this can be somewhat overwhelming when starting out, thankfully, there are a ton of excellent resources and courses out there to help you navigate the world of SEO.
My favourite that I would highly recommend is the SEO the Easy Way or the SEO the Easy Way eBook which was created by Gemma and Laura from Make Traffic Happen. This was undoubtedly the best investment I made when starting out and will no doubt help you along your SEO learning path too!
Step 5: Monetize your blog for financial success
Travel Affiliate Programs
Becoming an affiliate is probably the best way to boost your income as a travel blogger. Unless you are actually selling a product or your blog becomes so popular that people pay to put advertisements on it, providing affiliate links is the number one way to make your travel blog a financial success.
By becoming a travel blog affiliate, you help promote a product or service related to your travel blog topic. Many companies have affiliate programs, such as Airbnb, Booking.com, Get Your Guide and Amazon, to name but a few of the most popular travel affiliate programs.
Say for instance you’ve launched a Caribbean destination blog, if you become an Airbnb or Booking.com affiliate, you could provide links to relevant accommodation listings within your blog. When a reader clicks through your link and books a room, you’ll make a small profit from that purchase.
Finding the best travel affiliate programs is crucial to successfully monetizing your blog. This may take some time to research or split-test amongst different programs, for example comparing Booking.com versus Agoda to gage which works best with your given audience.
Just as with link building, you will need to keep asking yourself, “who is interested in this subject, and who will benefit from it?”.
Another popular and great way to generate passive income from your travel blog is to sign up to an ad management program.
This involves allowing an ad management company to display advertisements throughout your blog enabling you to earn a premium based on your audience size.
To capitalize on earnings, it is important to build a large enough audience to gain access to a higher tier ad management program as these companies do have set requirements in terms of monthly sessions and pageviews you should have before allowing you to apply.
Of course, the bigger your audience the greater chance to improve your RPM (earnings per thousand pageviews).
Without going into too much detail, the most commonly used and popular ad management platforms include:
- Google Adsense – no minimum sessions required to sign up – but pays considerably less than any other ad management company
- Ezoic – requires a minimum of 10 000 sessions – sign up for Ezoic here
- Monumetric – requires a minimum of 10 000 sessions
- Mediavine – requires a minimum of 50 000 sessions
- AdThrive – requires a minimum of 100 000 sessions
Sell your own Travel Products or courses
Many travel bloggers expand on their travel blog by creating their own blogging courses and related products that they in turn sell to their target audience.
This can take the form of an online e-course, a travel guide or book based on your blog niche, selling travel itineraries and more.
Through your travels, you’ve no doubt acquired valuable information and become a subject matter expert in your chosen field or niche. Why not put that to good use and create a profitable course or product that your audience would greatly benefit from!
Becoming a successful travel blog affiliate can take time and practice. It’s a matter of narrowing down options, trying new things, and adjusting your strategies. As the online market continues to grow and develop, new opportunities are bound to present themselves, so always keep your eyes open for other possibilities to help your travel blog grow.