How to Start a Travel Blog and Make Money in 2020

Let's talk about how to start a travel blog.

Have you ever dreamed of traveling the world and making a living?I know I did.And no… You don't need to be a flight attendant or find a job on a cruise ship to make this dream a reality.

Enter: Learn how to start a travel blog.The best part about the travel blog is that you don't need any formal education or degree to start doing it today.

If you've been bitten by the wanderlust bug and want to launch your own (profitable) travel blog, you've come to the right place.

Over the past 6 years, I have grown my blog (this one) to reach over 4.4 million annual readers, and I have learned to make money with blogging for over $450,000/year in revenue from this blog.I share this not to brag, but to illustrate that you are learning from someone with real, hands-on blogging experience.

Google Analytics screen How to start a travel blog Traffic test

Google Analytics screen How to start a travel blog Traffic test

In this guide I will show you how to start a travel blog and also how to do it sideways if you are still working full time.This process is based on both my personal experience, and that of several successful travel bloggers I had the pleasure of interviewing on my podcast.

Now, let's buckle up and get ready for an amazing trip.

How to Start a Travel Blog (and Make Money) in 8 Easy Steps

  1. Choose a Smart Travel Blogging Niche
  2. Choose the name of your travel blog (wisely)
  3. Select a blog hosting platform
  4. Design your travel blog
  5. Plan your first trip Travel Blog (and engage readers)
  6. Balance content creation with travel
  7. Traffic: How to Attract Readers to Your Travel Blog
  8. Monetize your travel blog with these 5 methods

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost, I will earn a commission.When you purchase a product or service using my affiliate link, the company compensates me, which helps make this guide free for you.Know that I only recommend the products that I have personally used and are behind.

Before you pack your bags: the basics you need to know on the travel blog

Before we delve into this guide on how to start a travel blog, there are some basic foundations that need to be laid right now.

These are factors that will decisively influence the success of your travel blog or not.

The basic tools (and skills) that every Travel Blogger needs

First of all, before you even hit the trail (or asphalt), you need to make sure you have the right tools and tools to help you build a successful travel blog.

The tools and tools you need to be a travel blogger

The tools and tools you need to be a travel blogger

Here are some of the basics you'd like to invest in, keeping in mind that you can always add to your toolkit based on your needs in the coming weeks, months, and years.

  • Lightweight laptop.Don't skimp on your laptop, as it's the central equipment you'll need to start a travel blog (and keep it active), think of it as your office.You'll want to have a laptop with good battery life, a decent-sized screen (you'll write and edit photos from it), and of course, the lighter, the better.Two of the best travel blog laptops that fit this bill perfectly are the 13" MacBook Pro (at $1,200) which is undoubtedly the best laptop if you're going to do a photo editing for your travel blog and the 13" MacBook Air (about $999.99) if you're going to focus primarily on writing.A MacBook is worth the investment because it will last you several years without worrying about it breaking down while you're in the middle of the journey.
  • Powerful camera.One of the most important aspects of the travel blog is telling stories of your adventures.And what better way to do that than with images of everything you see, do and live?This is why you need a good camera to capture those vibrant moments of narration.I highly recommend the Sony Alpha A7 II mirrorless camera (at $998.00) paired with a 28-70mm lens that comes standard with the camera or an upgrade to the more varied 18-105mm f/4 OSS G lens (at $598.00) that will help you shoot pretty much any kind of setting without the need to travel with multiple lenses.Similar to your decision about the right laptop to travel with, investing in good camera equipment upfront will pay significant dividends in the quality of your content, and this tool will last you for at least several years.
  • Backup power .The nature of the travel blog is that you will often be away from energy sources.A high-capacity power bank, like this one from Anker (at $139.99) that can charge phones and laptops multiple times, will help ensure your devices never run out.And speaking of energy, you'll also need a reliable worldwide travel adapter (at $11.00) or two, so you can always plug in and charge in the next country during your trip.

There are more and more tools and equipment you can choose from to improve the quality of your content (or images), but the basics of a good laptop, camera, and backup power will put you on your way to getting started with your travel blog.

3 challenges faced by all travel bloggers

Starting a travel blog is not easy at all.Sure, many travel bloggers (especially on Instagram) want to paint the picture that they're leading a life of leisure every single day, but that couldn't be further from the truth.Starting a travel blog and managing it successfully takes a lot of grit.

Let's take a look at some of the most common challenges you should be ready to face and overcome when starting a travel blog:

  • Competition is fierce.The reality of chasing a search as fun and rewarding as the travel blog, is that so…  Many people want to be a travel blogger (who wouldn't want to be?).For this reason, travel blogs can be a highly competitive and saturated industry.However, if you position yourself well (don't worry, this is the first section of this guide on how to start a travel blog) and put a lot of work into it, you can create a very successful travel blog in a niche where you will find yourself enjoying.
  • Time constraints .Especially if you're starting a travel blog alongside a full-time job you're still holding on, carving out time for both travel and content creation will be one of your biggest challenges.You'll need to learn how to balance work, travel, and content creation that will help you build an audience for your blog.
  • Loneliness .If you're traveling alone, chances are there will be times when you'll have to struggle with loneliness (however exciting your travels may be).Thankfully, though, technology allows us to stay in touch with our loved ones no matter where we are in the world, and staying at the right hotels or hostels along the journey can also help you fit into the social circles of other travelers with similar ideals and pursuits.

Knowing these challenges in advance will help you prepare mentally, thus increasing your chances of success as a long-term travel blogger.

Should You Learn How to Start a Travel Blog?

Well, now the last step before deciding whether or not to launch a travel blog today, is answering the critical question… "Why should I start a travel blog?" Here are some of the best reasons why you should consider blogging travel, so you can decide if a travel blog is something you really want to do.

  • Passion .If you are passionate about travel, then starting a travel blog is definitely a good idea to consider.Not only will travel blogs help you document your adventures, but they will also help motivate you to visit more places, seek out unique experiences, and help people around the world live life outside of their comfort zones.
  • Profit .A travel blog that works well, can be a great source of income whether you do it full-time or as a side business.My dear friend Selena Taylor has gone from starting a travel blog in Los Angeles a few years ago, amassing over 175,000+ followers on Instagram and earning well over $10,000 – $15,000 per project that books with hotels, tourism boards, and lifestyle brands around the world.He is now blogging full-time and earns well in the six figures from a combination of his blog revenue and content partnerships.
  • Pass your experience .Another compelling reason to start a travel blog is the goal of sharing your adventures with like-minded people, especially those looking for inspiration on where to go and how to do it.A travel blog is also a great way to share lessons learned, tips, and advice to help other travelers.

If you're still reading, it means you're seriously learning how to start a travel blog, today.

So we come, right?

How to Start a Travel Blog in 8 Easy Steps

While starting a travel blog and making it work may seem like a real challenge from the outside, it's not as difficult as many people – as long as you break this process into manageable steps, set the expectation that it will take weeks, months, and maybe even years to become a profitable full-time travel blogger.

Starting a travel blog is a major investment in your future, and the results can be incredibly rewarding.

Here's how to start a travel blog in 8 easy steps.

1. Choose a Smart Travel Blogging Niche

The first (and probably most important) step when starting a travel blog, is to choose a well-defined niche within the larger space of "travel blogging" that you can carve out as your own.

Blogger working on planning at Ryan Robinson coffee shop

Blogger working on planning at Ryan Robinson coffee shop

What is a travel blog niche?

A niche is a clearly defined set of topics, placement, and style in which you want to specialize your blog.Having a niche will help you stand out from thousands of other travel blogs and differentiate your content in a way that will make your travel blog more appealing to an audience searching for your specific type of content.

The travel blog itself is a large niche within the overall "blog" industry.However, it's such a broad topic that it has so many other niche possibilities you can choose from: either to find your own style and message, or to start in a less competitive space.

15 Popular Travel Blog Niches to Explore in 2020:

  • Cheap travel
  • Luxury Travel
  • I travel alone
  • Remote Work / Digital Nomad Travel
  • Women's travel
  • backpacker
  • Country Blogging (traveling to your country)
  • City blogs (focused on particular cities)
  • Travelling for business
  • Food-focused trips (visiting restaurants)
  • Outdoor adventure trips
  • Family trip
  • National parks
  • Travelling for the elderly
  • Travel by camper or van (road trip and #vanlife)

As you can see, the options are really limitless when it comes to choosing a niche for your travel blog, so the only constraints are your imagination and what other people are interested in seeing content about.If there's an audience of readers out there looking for inspiration for a certain type of trip, then there's an opportunity to fill that need with your travel blog.

Some ways you should think about narrowing down your niche, is to choose a subject area that you both (1) love and (2) have clear monetization opportunities.

How do you choose a profitable travel blogging niche?

The first step to making sure your potential travel blogging niche has real profit potential, is to make sure there's already an existing audience out there, craving the kind of content topics you're considering starting a travel blog.

  • Research by keywords.The quickest way to estimate real-world demand for your travel blog niche is to do keyword research.That means using a free tool like Twinword Ideas or a more advanced tool suite like Ahrefs, to search for the most popular keywords within your travel blog niche.This will give you an indicator of what people are actively searching for online, how many of them are searching for content on these topics, and give you insights into what they are willing to spend money on.
  • Perform a competitor analysis.Competitor analysis simply means checking what your competitors are already doing.Like it or not, every possible travel blogging niche (worth getting into) will have already established competitors – but that's a good thing.You can take a close look at their blogs, research their monetization strategies, and use tools like Ahrefs to find out how they also drive traffic to their blog.Chances are that if your competitors profit from their travel blogs, you can too.

If you want to delve deeper into choosing a clear, search-supported niche for your travel blog, read my in-depth guide: How to Choose a Niche from Blog About (+21 Examples of Profitable Niche Blogs).

Now that you've opted for a clear travel blogging niche, let's tackle the next stage of your blogging journey.

2. Choose the name of your travel blog (wisely)

Choosing a blog name (which is both interesting and still has a .com available) for your travel blog, may not be that easy.

How to choose a travel blog name (screenshot of travel blog name example)

How to choose a travel blog name (screenshot of travel blog name example)

As a starting point, pay special attention to making sure you choose a travel blog name that:

  • Describe your niche (if possible)
  • Reflects your brand and style
  • Increase your blog's SEO opportunities (a name that includes your main keyword, if possible)

Adapted straight from my ultimate guide on how to name a blog , here are some quick tips and simple techniques that are specifically designed to help you name your travel blog.

10 Quick Travel Blog Naming Tips and Techniques

  1. Read a book (or article) in your travel niche to discover new potential words and names
  2. Dust off the thesaurus or dictionary and search for catchy words
  3. Try alliteration to find the name of a travel blog (Budget Boating, The Trippy Traveller, Wander Well)
  4. Find a good pun for the name of your travel blog (In Tents Camping, Girl Gone Travel)
  5. Use humor (do you travel too? Suitable girls from below)
  6. Unrelated words can be more memorable
  7. Use your name or nickname if you have problems
  8. Brainstorming words related to your niche (wanderer, laborer, tramp, nomad, adventurer, tramp)
  9. Take a break and try something new (take a walk in nature for inspiration)
  10. Use invented words (get creative, there are no wrong answers)

Another useful tip when choosing the name of a travel blog, is to avoid words that are either a cliché (since they have been abused) or that can be easily misplaced.

Also, make sure your blog name is memorable since (ideally) you'll also use it as a domain name.

Finally, here's a quick video breakdown of my top tips on choosing a safe name for a blog:

How to name a blog: 10 easy ways to invent a blog name and domain

3. Select a blog hosting platform

In order for your travel blog to be publicly visible on the Internet, you must:

  • Get a blog hosting plan
  • Register your domain name

Fortunately, this process has become extremely easy to do and is also very affordable (less than $3.00/month).

What is blog hosting?

A hosting service is a company that owns servers and has the technology to make (and maintain) your blog available online.Because of the important role your hosting platform plays in blogging, you'll want to invest in a reliable hosting plan from day one.Otherwise, your blog may be offline at times, lose valuable readers, and tell search engines that your site is not trustworthy.

One of the most reliable hosting services, and the one I (and many other bloggers) highly recommend, is Bluehost.Bluehost is not only one of the best web hosting services on the market for the past 20 years, but it's also extremely affordable, especially considering that their plans include a free domain name included.

You can expect to host your blog on Bluehost for $2.95/month, which also includes access to their 24/7 technical support team.

Bluehost hosting for your travel blog (screenshot of signup page)Bluehost hosting for your travel blog (screenshot of signup page)

Another great reason to go with Bluehost for hosting your travel blog is that they also include a "one-click" WordPress installation immediately after signing up.

I highly recommend using WordPress to power your blog, as it's a robust content management system (CMS) that's also super easy to use and customize your blog's design.And according to recent blog statistics, it's by far the most popular blogging platform in use by millions of bloggers worldwide (including me here on this blog).

Now, this brings us to our next step in learning how to start a travel blog — designing the layout, look, and look of what your blog will look like.

4. Design your travel blog

Now comes one of the most interesting parts of opening a travel blog (apart from the actual trip, of course): designing your own travel blog.

How to Design a Travel Blog on WordPress (Tutorial)

How to Design a Travel Blog on WordPress (Tutorial)

This stage is important, as it determines what visitors will see and experience when they visit your travel blog.

A well-designed and easy-to-navigate travel blog also helps build trust with your audience.So how do you design the perfect travel blog?

Consider your brand

An important factor to consider when designing your travel blog is branding.Take for example the homepage design of my friend Selena Taylor's travel blog: Find Us Lost.

Lost Home Page screen (travel blog design sample)

Lost Home Page screen (travel blog design sample)

As you can see, there is a very clear set of complementary colors, text styles, and prominent use of its original photographs displayed on their homepage.Selena has a very well-defined brand for her travel blog.

Keep in mind that while you may be an unknown (brand new) travel blogger today, it's important to nail your brand from the start.

The two most important aspects of travel blog branding that you need to consider today are:

  • Aesthetics Blog.This is about what your travel blog looks like.Use colors and images that reflect your unique approach to your niche.
  • Blog personality. The personality of your travel blog includes factors such as writing tone and conversation style.It also has to do with the vibe you want your blog to have, which will do a lot in terms of attracting (or repeling) certain types of people.

Use the right WordPress theme

A WordPress theme is free (or cheap) software that you can install on your WordPress-based blog and helps you easily control/change the overall look and feel of your travel blog.

Each theme will give your blog a different visual layout and showcase your content in different ways.If you're not sure which theme to use when starting your travel blog, I recommend evaluating my picks for the best WordPress themes as a starting point for evaluating all the best options on the market today.For most new travel bloggers, I end up recommending that they follow the free Elementor WordPress theme to get your blog off the ground and maintain a smart budget.

Elementor WordPress Page Builder for your travel blog

Elementor WordPress Page Builder for your travel blog

After installing the theme, it's time to upload some WordPress plugins that will add some additional features to your travel blog.

Install These 4 Functional Travel Blog Plugins

Just like a theme, a plugin is (smaller) software that improves the look, feel, and features of your travel blog.The main difference is that while themes deal with the overall aesthetic of your blog, a plugin enhances a particular feature.

Some handy plugins to help you start a travel blog on the right foot include:

  1. Yoast SEO .Yoast SEO is one of the best plugins when it comes to improving your blog's SEO performance, which will help you rank content higher in organic search results.
  2. Social counter .Social Counter is a plugin that allows your blog visitors to easily share your content with just one click.It also gives you useful analytics related to the social media performance of your content, which helps determine which social channels to spend the most time on.
  3. WP Google Maps .What is a travel blog with no maps of where you've been (and where you're going to go)?WP Google Maps is a simple plugin that lets you create custom Google maps with high-quality markers containing categories, descriptions, images, links, and more.
  4. Image gallery of Modula .This is a great plugin that helps you efficiently store, edit, and optimize your photos and images, which will form an important part of your travel blog experience.

With these basic design pillars in place, you can now start spending some time tweaking the design and functionality of your travel blog.

While this should absolutely be a fun learning experience, I recommend limiting the amount of time you spend perfecting your travel blog design and bringing it to a "good enough" level so that you can start shifting your focus to what's most important travel activity, Content creation and audience building.

For a detailed and detailed tutorial on how to build your travel blog with WordPress, sign up for my free course below.

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5. Plan your first travel blog trip (and engage readers)

Now that your travel blog is up and running, it's time to start planning your first trip (and content creation process).

Maps and planning your first travel blog

Maps and planning your first travel blog

This section of our guide will look at planning a number of travel blog trips that are reachable, budget-friendly, and interesting to your (future) audience – and will do so especially around your job if you still have a full-time job.

Start with Close Destinations

If you're still addicted to your daily work, it can be difficult to travel as often as you like.One way to overcome this challenge in the early days of your travel blog is to take short trips to nearby destinations.This will help you:

  • Test your equipment
  • Practice taking photos (and videos)
  • Try creating content for your blog
  • Start sharing on social media and engaging with potential readers

For your first trips, I recommend choosing nearby destinations that are exciting, it won't take too long to research and plan — and of course make sure they're destinations that will interest your audience.

Plan your trip in advance

While this may seem like an obvious step for travel bloggers, it still needs to be mentioned: the vast majority of travel bloggers plan their trips in advance (taking into account the locations they want to visit and the content they want to get), rather than wing it completely when they show up at a new destination.

Also consider that you may want to plan your trip so that it happens during an upcoming 3-day weekend, so you don't have to take a break from work.

Some of the main things to focus on while planning your first travel blogging trip include:

  • Decide the destination and the main facets of the trip
  • Budget of how much you want to spend (and how)
  • Accommodation (hotel vs Airbnb)
  • Meal planning (restaurants vs shopping and cooking)
  • Travel style arrangements (solo or in groups)
  • Documentation (what you want to capture and write)

Be sure to keep a journal where you write everything down about your travel plans.

Better yet, use your travel blog to write a journal about preparing for public travel for your readers to see and learn.

This process will not only help you refine your time travel planning process, but will also create stronger bonds with readers who feel they are participating in the adventure with you.In addition, you may only receive some good advice (or requests) for activities to do during your trip.

How to Use Your Trip Planning to Create Buzz for Your Travel Blog

So how can you use your trip planning to build some excitement for your new travel blog?

  • Announce your trip. A good way to get readers (and future readers) excited about your journey is to announce it on social media.Share your destination with everyone you are connected to on your social media platforms and invite them to join you in preparing your trip.You can also let them know that they're free to tag you along the journey by following updates on your blog, Instagram, or more.
  • Involve your readers in the selection of equipment. If there are special tools you need to prepare for the trip, engage your readers by asking for advice or soliciting their votes on a decision.This will help you spark conversations, as well as gather advice from others who have already used the equipment.
  • Run a contest. As you prepare your gear, use it as an opportunity to launch a contest that builds your audience, whereby you give identical gear to a lucky new follower who engages more with your posts.

Another final point on planning the successful trip for your travel blog, is to read the accounts of other bloggers, writers, and photographers who have embarked on the same journey before you.

Bonus: Connect with influencers. I recommend letting these influencers know that you are about to embark on the same journey and that you found their content extremely useful in planning your version of the trip.

This is a great way to start building relationships with other travel bloggers in your niche.Who knows, they might even give you some tips on places to visit, tips to reduce costs, or even share your trip with their audience, helping you in turn grow yours.

6. Balancing content creation with travel

Well, now it's time to make your long-awaited maiden voyage as a travel blogger.

The views are exhilarating, as are the experiences.But don't forget: you also need to create content for your travel blog.And by far the best time to document your journey (at least as a draft blog post or off the liner notes), is while you're experiencing it in real time, every day.

How to Balance Content Creation with Travel with a Travel Blog

How to Balance Content Creation with Travel with a Travel Blog

One of the biggest challenges of running a travel blog is that it's so easy to forget (amid excitement) that you should create content for your blog, ideally sharing behind the scenes with videos, short updates, and still images from your Instagram account.

Here are some tips to stay up to date on your content game while traveling.

Do your research in advance

One of the most important things you can do for yourself as a travel blogger is to research content before embarking on your journey.Two areas you need to pay special attention to include:

  • Search on the destination .Research your destination as much as possible, so you can get ideas about the type of content you can create during your trip.Before you leave for your trip, you should already have some clear ideas in mind about blog posts to write and potentially publish during your trip.
  • Keyword research .As we mentioned earlier, keyword research is a very important aspect of travel blogging.Research keywords for a particular destination before you leave for your trip, and you'll be able to choose some specific activities to do while you're there, and make sure there's a pool of readers searching for that content online.

Researching your destination and all your upcoming trip as much as possible will help reduce the burden of creating content while traveling.

Create a content calendar

A content calendar is a schedule of the exact parts of the content you will publish (in order).After doing the initial research, your content calendar will tell you what you need to write a blog post and when it should be published.

To create your editorial content calendar:

  • Use your search.Use keyword research you've already done, to find some topics and ideas for the content you'll create about a particular trip/destination.Bonus points if you survey your audience for recommendations or experiences to document.
  • Take advantage of your itinerary.Your itinerary isn't just helpful in letting you know where you're going and when.You can also use it to create a content calendar by creating content based on every restaurant you visit, activities you do, and views you see.Your entire journey can be a content opportunity if you're thinking strategically.

Once you've installed your content calendar, actually creating that content becomes a much simpler puzzle – you just have to fill in the blanks.

If you want a copy of the exact editorial calendar I use to plan my blog content right here, then grab my free content calendar template today.

Take great photos

Your readers want to experience the journey with you.A great way to allow them to do this is to capture and publish high-quality photos (and videos) to share along the way.This is where your reliable camera is played.

Be sure to make a healthy mix of both the action shots (perfect for Instagram stories) and the most curated and curated panoramic shots (the best for your blog and Instagram posts) to give your readers the best experience and one they can tune in to while you're out on your trip.

Take beautiful photos for your travel blog (Landscape of mountains and hikers)

Take beautiful photos for your travel blog (Landscape of mountains and hikers)

You can also enhance the visual appeal of your blog posts by creating your own graphics and images.

One of the best blogging tools to help you create your own unique images is Canva, the free suite of design tools and resources that can help you create anything from logos to social-optimized graphics, shareable presentations, and more.

Creating content that your readers will love

As you know all too well by now, travel blogs can be quite competitive, depending on the niche you're in.

If your content will stand out from the hundreds (even thousands) of other travel bloggers out there, you'll need to focus on creating content that:

  • Unique .First, admit that by now almost every square inch of this planet has been posted to a blog somewhere.To create unique content, you need to search for lesser-known places, tell more stories, and take part in off-the-beaten-path experiences.
  • Useful .Most people who read travel blogs are looking for useful information that they can use to plan their trips, right?Make sure you focus heavily on meeting this need for your readers and don't be afraid to ask them how you can be more helpful with your content!
  • Funny.Master a writing style that makes your words fly off the screen and form images in your reader's mind.By making your blog posts fun and accessible, you can almost guarantee that your visitors will want to come back for more.A great way to do this is to add some humor to your content, share raw video updates on your Instagram stories, and go out of your way to enjoy yourself with your readers.

Content is the backbone of every successful travel blog.

Without great content, there's no incentive for people to want to follow along with your travel blog.

Speaking of followers… A very important aspect that you need to master when learning how to start a travel blog is to generate traffic to your blog (and develop your social following, which can be a reliable source of repeatable traffic for months and years to come).

7. Traffic: How to Attract Readers to Your Travel Blog

Your travel blog is now live and you have planned your first trip.The next step is to go back and watch thousands of people rush to devour your first content… right?Well, not really.

Instagram on iPhone to get followers and drive traffic to your blog

Instagram on iPhone to get followers and drive traffic to your blog

Gone are the days when getting tons of readers on your travel blog is as simple as making a $100 ad spend on Google, Facebook, Instagram, or posting about your launch in some internet travel forums.

With over 1.5 billion websites on the internet today (and more launched every day), you need to make a real effort to break the noise and attract readers to your travel blog.

You'll need to earn your traffic today, but therein lies the exciting and rewarding challenge.So how do you do it?

1. Keyword research

There's a reason I've talked so much about the importance of doing proper keyword research before creating content for your travel blog, and you can't stress enough how useful this initial research will be in your journey.

Take for example this quick keyword research in Ahrefs for the phrase "things to do in Paris" here:From this keyword search, you can learn several extremely important information:Ahrefs screenshot of keyword research (what to do in Paris query)

Ahrefs screenshot of keyword research (what to do in Paris query)
  • There are about 51,000 people searching for "things to do in Paris" every month
  • The level of competition (26 out of 100) is relatively medium to low for this key phrase, which suggests that it is a great opportunity to address
  • When you scroll lower, you'll see the currently ranked articles at the top of this search results query, which show you the structure of their top successful approaches and give you insight into how to make your content more unique, useful, and fun.

Things to do in Paris (Screenshot) in Travel Blogs and Search Keywords

Things to do in Paris (Screenshot) in Travel Blogs and Search Keywords

Remember that keyword research is the practice of finding the words and phrases your readers use when searching for certain information online, so you should always approach the search with an open mind about what you'll find.

By choosing to post content around keywords with relatively low competition (and the highest possible traffic without becoming too competitive for a brand new travel blog), you'll start to crop a small collection of long-tail keyword phrases that you can rank by… and start bringing some traffic to your blog.

2. Use social media (especially Instagram and Pinterest)

Social media can be another great tool for driving traffic to your travel blog, especially channels like Instagram and Pinterest.

How to Use Instagram to Drive Traffic to Your Travel Blog

How to Use Instagram to Drive Traffic to Your Travel Blog

Since this type of content is primarily visually first, you'll do well on image-friendly platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, where millions of daily users actively search and engage in travel-related content.

There are two main ways to use social media to drive traffic to your blog:

  • Organic coverage .Driving traffic organically involves building a following on platforms where people who love travel-related topics enjoy spending their time and sharing your content with them.If you can put the content they'll love in front of them, they're more likely to share it with other people in their network as well.
  • Paid coverage.This method involves boosting or sponsoring your posts. Most social media platforms have a feature where you can promote your social media posts to people who fit your target demographic, even if they're not in your network today.

Because Instagram is such a popular platform for travel bloggers (and brands), it's important to provide some tips for growing an engaged audience on Instagram.

Chris Burkard Example (Instagram) of How to Start a Travel Blog

Chris Burkard Example (Instagram) of How to Start a Travel Blog

5 Quick Tips to Get Instagram Followers

  • Nail your bio on Instagram .Your bio is the first impression people will get from you.Be sure to create a bio that clearly defines who you are, what you do, and what your travel blog's mission is, in an interesting way.Don't forget to include a link (and a compelling call to action) to your blog in your bio.
  • Create the right kind of content.Images work very well on Instagram, however not all types of images.To discover the right kind of images you should focus on creating and sharing, take a look at what works well for other travel bloggers in your niche (scenic and landscape imagery tend to do very well).
  • Encourage interaction .Encourage your followers to like, share, and comment on your posts. Give them a good reason to interact by sharing more unique content than others in your space, rather than posting the same tired image styles they see from everyone else in their feeds.Try to find a creative image format that can become emblematic of your brand.
  • Use smart hashtags.Hashtags are a great way to get the right people to discover your content, as they help users navigate to the content that is most relevant to them.Search and compile a list of the most popular hashtags in your niche and use them strategically in the description of the photos you post on Instagram.
  • Interact with other travel bloggers (and readers).Social media is about being social, not just sharing a stream of one-way images about your life and hoping that thousands of people flock to watch.By interacting with other travel bloggers and your readers on Instagram, you'll learn more about how to best serve your audience, what they like, what they want to see more, and as a result, you'll become more engaged.

Don't underestimate the power of social media in driving traffic to your travel blog.If done right, channels like Instagram and Pinterest can become your biggest source of traffic.

3. Guest Blog

Another great way to drive very relevant traffic to your travel blog is via the guest blog.Guest posting is the act of connecting with other travel bloggers (or travel publications) and posting a "guest post" article on their sites.This strategy alone is responsible for much of my success in blogging, so I highly recommend prioritizing your travel blog promotion efforts.

In order for the guest blog to be successful, you must:

  • Target sites that your ideal readers already visit and spend time
  • Build true and genuine relationships with the owners of those blogs
  • Create content so unique, useful, and fun that they will be forced to visit your blog

While it may seem counterintuitive to create stellar content and post it for free elsewhere, it's actually a great way to showcase your expertise, and if you post on the right blogs, it will not only help attract more visitors, but also build your authority within your travel blogging niche.

Check out these two in-depth guides here on my blog for a detailed approach to blogging successful guests and beyond:

4. Harness the power of email marketing

Email may seem like an old-fashioned channel for spreading information, but it's actually one of the most efficient for driving targeted traffic to your travel blog, especially if you can partner with other travel blogs or more established niche publications to publish your content in their newsletters.

As time goes on and builds up your email list, though, blog email marketing will involve sending an email to your subscribers, updating new posts on your blog, asking them to follow on your social channels, or keep them posted on your upcoming travel plans (and how they can participate).

5. Network with other travel bloggers

As much as travel blogging can be a competitive industry, one good thing about blogging is that not everything is a competition.

If anything, bloggers understand that the best way to grow their blogs is to network with their fellow bloggers who also reach the same (or similar) audience.From day one, you should get into the habit of doing blogger outreach activities with the goal of building relationships and providing real value to other bloggers in your niche.

Networking with other bloggers has many long-term benefits, the main one being that other more established travel bloggers can increase your social following by sharing your posts with their audience.

8. Monetize your travel blog with these 5 methods

We've reached the last leg of our journey on how to start a travel blog: let's talk about monetizing your travel blog.

For most people, getting paid to travel seems like a far-fetched dream.However, if you get to work, you can live full-time from your travel blog.Let's explore how, based on both my personal experiences learning how to make money on blogging, and the exact ways that many successful travel bloggers I know, monetize their blogs today.

Find us lost on the page and monetization history of their travel blog

Find us lost on the page and monetization history of their travel blog

5 Proven Ways to Make Money Travel Blogging in 2020

Here are the top five ways travel bloggers profit from their blogs and how you can do it too.

1. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the best methods of generating revenue from your travel blog (or any other blog), especially since it's relatively passive and can earn revenue for you at any time of the day or night without any extra effort on your part.All it needs are qualified readers on your content.

This monetization channel works by joining the right best affiliate programs, creating content for your blog, and strategically placing links to relevant and useful products or services (within your content).When a reader clicks and records or completes a sale based on your recommendation, you'll earn a commission.

For this template to work, your content and the products you promote must be relevant to your target audience.This could be photographic equipment, hotel stays, flight recommendations, and more.

2. Content sponsorship

Another way to earn money from your travel blog is through content sponsorships.With this monetization channel, you'll get:

  • Paid to create content .If there's one thing every brand needs, it's exposure.If you have a decent following on your travel blog, brands will be excited about the opportunity to pay you for creating content (photos, videos, or articles) related to their products or services, with the expectation that they will see an increase in engagement, interest, or sales.Here you can often earn a little extra selling the brand (especially hotels) with a package that includes high-quality content that the brand can also use to share on their social media channels.
  • Sponsored to promote companies.Many companies in the travel space will also sponsor your flights, accommodations, and even give you free equipment in exchange for mentioning them in your blog posts and social media channels.

Sponsorship offers are extremely popular in the travel blogging space, because they are beneficial to both parties, even when you are still relatively early in your learning journey on how to start a travel blog, you can often make free or discounted trips, so it's the perfect win-win channel to start with.

3. Creation and sale of digital products

Creating and selling your digital products is another great way to generate revenue from your travel blog.While it will require a bit more upfront work than other monetization methods, it can provide some of the best returns on investment over the long run (if you create a useful digital product).

Examples of digital products you can create to monetize your travel blog include things like:

  • Courses .Create a self-paced online course or even an in-person master class that you offer for a fee, obviously to meet the needs of your audience.A great example of this is Jacob Riglin's photography lesson where you can spend several days studying in person, on site with the famous photographer.
  • eBook .Another digital product that can help you generate relatively passive revenue from your blog is a digital book (or eBook).Since my audience here is bloggers, I wrote an eBook that is meant to help beginner bloggers build successful habits to grow their audience and has sold thousands of copies since I published it.
  • App .While the growth of downloads for your iPhone app is a topic worthy of its deep dive guide (like this guide here), offering a free or low-cost app can dramatically increase your audience and revenue if it takes off within your niche.Take the example of my friend Carrie, who blogs about her life traveling gluten-free.It recently launched an app that highlights thousands of gluten-free restaurants around the world and has already been downloaded several thousand times – its monetization options could include things like allowing restaurants to promote their businesses, promote their products, or show advertisements.

By the way, let's talk about using display ads to monetize directly on your travel blog.

4. Display advertising.

Selling advertising space on your travel blog is by far one of the easiest ways to start earning money from your blog.

You can test the waters with display advertising by reaching directly with potential advertisers and entering into a deal, or by joining a display advertising network like Google AdSense and others who are more carefully curated to serve travel bloggers like these here.

If you can create a significant amount of traffic to your blog (tens of thousands of readers start generating hundreds of dollars in monthly ad revenue), this could be a great way to earn passive income from readers who are browsing the content on your blog.

5. Sale of physical products

Before writing it … No, you don't need to keep your physical product inventory handy to create a successful travel blog about selling physical products.

Thanks to the proliferation of online marketplaces like Amazon and tools like Shopify or BigCommerce, you can take advantage of the wonders of drop shipping to sell a physical product without it ever having to pass into your hands.

What is Dropshipping Infographic

What is Dropshipping Infographic

For an even deeper look at how to monetize your travel blog, check out my guide: How to Make Money Blogging This Year.

Final thoughts on how to start a travel blog (it takes a lot of grit but it's worth it)

Well, that's it: all you need to learn how to start a travel blog (aside) in 2020.

Sure, it will take a lot of hard work, patience, and deliberate experimentation to build a profitable business around your travel blog, but the results can be incredibly rewarding.

By following this project, you will position yourself for a successful travel blogging trip.

And with enough time, it can even turn into your main source of income.

Want more tips on how to grow your blog readers fast?Be sure to check out my guide: How to grow a blog quickly (on a budget).