Looking to start your own travel blog and live the life of a digital nomad? Well, we partnered with big-time travel blogger The Hostel Girl aka Katie Dawes to point you in the right direction. Making a career out of travel blogging ain't easy - but The Hostel Girl did it and now she spends her life travelling all over Europe finding homes on the road and reviewing different hostels! What a life, eh. Like the sound of it? Check out her best tips to get you started...
1. ACTUALLY TRAVEL
This might seem like a lame point to make. But if you want to write about travel you need to at least be taking a day trip or two outside your town once a month. The reason I’m making this point is because researching destinations on the internet and then writing about them as if you’ve been there, when you have never been there, is a huge ball of crap you don’t want to get involved in. Plagiarism and downright lying to your readers just isn’t cool.
The only exception to not travelling and writing a travel blog, is if you’re writing about your hometown. I love local travel blogs. Here’s my favourite: Strong Island .
2. SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY
With the reduced cost of travel, and endless inspiration from other bloggers, there are literally thousands of travel blogs circulating the internet today. The only way to make sure your blog stands out from the crowd is to win over a loyal readership with your personality.
If you’re opinionated about a travel topic, like hostelling, travelling on a budget or sustainable travel, show your passion for it. If you’re open to telling crude stories about your failed dating life on the road, then share your memories. Got IBS or anxiety and want to rant about it? Go for it!
3. TAKE A SHIT LOAD OF PHOTOS
Longform travel writing is great in small doses. But if you want to create beautiful, share-worthy posts that inspire people to love a destination as much as you did, then you need to take good photos. If you can invest in a great camera, then do it. But the quality of photos from modern smartphones these days can be just as great.
No matter what you use to take your photos, editing is key! Hashtag #NoFilter will not help your baby blog in the slightest. I swear by Lightroom and Photoshop, which I pay just £10 a month for from the Creative Cloud . However, there are plenty of free alternatives out there.
4. SELF-PROMOTE LIKE A BOSS
At the very start let’s face it, no one is going to read your blog until you tell them to. Except your mum. So you need to slap your content on every available social media platform and make people believe that your tips and knowledge on your chosen travel niche is the bomb.
So get yourself a Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter profiles, and a Pinterest feed at the very least. And update consistently. Ideally, you want to be posting on Facebook and Instagram at least once a day, a few times a day on Twitter, and at a few ties a week on Pinterest. If any of your friends tell you you’re being annoying, tell them you’re building an empire and you couldn’t care less.
5. POSITION YOURSELF AS AN EXPERT IN YOUR NICHE
Niche is a scary word. A lot of bloggers out there have said f*ck it to the niche and still have a great loyal readership. But if you want to build a blog that people will come to in the knowledge that you will always be able to help them with a specific part of their travel planning, then you need your readers to believe that you are the Professor X of your chosen travel topic.
Put it this way: if you want to find the next best festival to attend this summer, then you visit Vicky Flip Flop’s Blog . If you want tips on travelling in Morocco, then you visit Bewildered in Morocco . And if you want tips on hostels in Europe then you visit The Hostel Girl (ah hem… self-promoting like a boss).
6. LEARN THE BASICS OF SEO
First, don’t freak out over Google. But do put in time to research keywords and SEO basics, because if Google thinks you’re the shit then you’ll be able to set yourself apart from all the hobby bloggers out there. It’s also a definite ego boost to Google search a topic and find one of your posts on the first page of results.
7. REMEMBER THAT YOU’D BE NOWHERE WITHOUT YOUR READERS
Imagine this: it’s been a few years since you launched your travel blog, and you’re up on stage being handed an award for the travel blog of the year. Aside from your mum, who are you going to want to thank?
Your loyal readers aren’t only the ones who give you page views by returning. They’re the ones who will lead discussions on your social media posts, share your Pinterest graphics, and forward your newsletter to your friends. They’re the ones who will ask questions that will inspire you to write better content, and might even be bloggers or magazines writers themselves who will link to you in their own articles (good SEO!). Your readers might even be the ones who get in touch with you on Twitter and offer you the role of a lifetime in a global company based out of Amsterdam - true story, this happened to me.
So when they get in touch via Facebook messenger, Instagram DM, Twitter or email, always do your best to give them the time of day.