In this guide, I will be giving you my ultimate tips for travel blogging. This is based on my experience as a blogger and on techniques I have picked up along the way.
First off it’s worth stating that travel blogging is definitely not the easiest thing to get into. When you first start you will have a website that has no content, no traffic, no domain authority, nothing; So you will be starting from scratch! You, therefore, need to be patient, and keep at it and not give up! It took me 6-12 months to get to a decent amount of traffic. My traffic still isn’t that big in the whole scheme of things, but when I started seeing traffic I felt proud, happy and like I was giving back my experience of travelling to help others!
It’s also worth noting that many of the big blogs that have 100’s of thousands of visitors per month are established, have been around for ages and now have good domain authority (more on DA below). So when starting don’t concern yourself too much with how successful other blogs and websites have been, except to use it as inspiration and motivation!
Read below for ultimate tips on travel blogging.
The first thing to think about when creating a new blog will be the look and feel of your site. This will involve the template you use, the colours, other visual elements and also performance aspects. Below are some of the things you should think about regarding site design:
Create a style/identity
When you first start out, try and decide on your style and identity, such as something that represents your website well. For me being a travel blog, I wanted a nice easy to read style with relevant pictures and colours. I have made lots of changes to my site since I first designed it and I’m sure it will keep changing over time, but it’s worth trying to get a somewhat good design from the start.
Font style and colours
Pay attention to what font styles and colours you use. Such as making headings one colour and the content under those headings another colour. This will help make your articles a lot easier to read. The font style is also important and if you choose a font that is full of wavy lines then your readers may struggle to read it. Visit fonts.google.com to see lots of fonts that you could use in your blog.
One of the ranking factors that search engines such as Google take into account is your site speed. To ensure you have a good site speed, keep the size of your images and media low, i.e. 500kb or less and also use a good web hosting provider. I use FastComet to host my website, who are great, and since changing to them from GoDaddy my site has been lightning fast, and I believe this has helped my rankings. Another way to improve site speed is to optimise your site, such as minimising scripts and CSS files. If you are using WordPress I recommend downloading W3 Total Cache which will do most of the hard work for you.
Consider using a CDN
Another way to improve the performance of your site is to use a CDN (content delivery network) service. This can reduce the resource load on your host and improve site speed and performance for your end users. As well as improving speed some CDN’s, such as Cloudflare, provide security benefits too, such as DDoS protection, IP blocking and lots more.
Get an SSL Certificate and Enable HTTPS
If possible try and enable HTTPS and obtain an SSL certificate as early as possible. This will ensure your site is secure and hopefully you’ll benefit from that in your ranking on search engines.
Content, SEO and Strategies Tips
It’s worth having a clear strategy when creating content for your blog so that it’s not all over the place and your site looks a lot more professional. You should also focus on creating high-quality content with good SEO. This will be a crucial element that can determine how successful your blog will be. A few important things to remember:
- Keep your posts detailed with at least 300 words or more.
- Use good pictures with descriptive labelling.
- Remember internal linking.
- Link to good external sources.
- Keep your content structured with header tags.
More tips below:
Focus on quality content
For ages, I struggled with the context of what quality content is! But basically a good rule is to have content that is at least 300 words, and that contains good titles, keyword percentage, images, linking and various other rules. Although 300 words is the recommended word count I always try and write posts that are upwards of 1000 words whenever possible. An amazing plugin to help you write content with good SEO is Yoast SEO (more below).
Download Yoast SEO (if using WordPress)
Yoast SEO is one of the best plugins for WordPress. The plugin has heaps of useful features such as:
- Analysing your content to check the word count is sufficient.
- Creating a sitemap which is then used by search engines to index your pages and know of updates.
- Easily update metadata for the post
- Check your page has a good density of your chosen keyword.
This, as well as many other amazing features, make Yoast SEO a fantastic plugin that you should definitely use. There is a free and paid version, with the paid version having a few more features. I have been using the free version for my site.
Create posts with good structure, ie H2, H3 tags etc
An important element of SEO and writing for the web is to have well-structured content. This involves using Header Tags such as H1, H2, H3 etc, with H1 being the most important, largest and often used for the title of the page. Using headers to structure your content is important for search engines to understand your website, and will also mean visitors can easily scan the page to find what they are looking for.
Label pictures with descriptive words
Make sure you label your images with descriptive words, both in the filename and also in the Alt Text. This information is used by search engines to understand what your page is about and you may even get traffic from people who find the images through image searches. You don’t necessarily need to use the same text in the filename, caption and Alt Text, although I do.
An important part of your travel blog should be to have good internal linking. This is where you add hyperlinks in your content to other pages on your site that are relevant. By adding these you may get more page views and also provide a better experience to your readers.
When adding internal links, add them as you go. Ie, when you publish a new page, then add hyperlinks/internal links to any existing pages with links to this new page. It’s a massive time saver to do this as you go, as once your website is fairly big it would take ages to go back through and add.
As well as adding internal links, also add external links. You should link to useful resources and content that is relevant to your site. For example, if you write a page on Paris, then link to the Paris and French tourism boards. By linking to relevant websites then this is another way search engines will be able to determine what your page is about.
Make draft posts when you have ideas
One thing I often do is make a draft post of a topic I want to publish down the line, such as:
- Top Things to do in [destination]
- City Breaks: Guide to [destination] in 24-72 hours
- Top Tips for [subject]
I may not necessarily write the post, but by having a draft it helps prevent the likelihood of me forgetting.
Write content for your posts whilst things are fresh in your mind
When you visit a place, travel or even think of something that would make a good blog post, then make notes and write as much content as possible. For example when I was travelling around Asia I would pre-write certain parts of my blog posts, such as costs of things, travel information and anything that I might forget down the line. You can also carry around a notepad, or make notes on your phone as you travel.
Take pictures of important things you want to remember if you don’t have time
When visiting attractions such as museums take pictures of information boards and plaques when you don’t fancy making notes. This way you can refer to these pictures when you need to.
Try and post frequently, although spread out your posts if possible, i.e. not 5 posts in one day and then no posts for another week. This means search engines will see your site as often having fresh content, and this may be more beneficial to your traffic.
Make updates to existing content
Although it’s easy to publish a new web page, you should also come back to existing web pages now and then and update them as necessary. You may spot issues with previous content, or have more information that you want to add. Or even think of better ways to display the content, so it gives readers a better experience.
Check your website thoroughly when making big changes
When making big changes to your website check thoroughly for things that may have broken. I changed my site from HTTP to HTTPS, which is a more secure protocol and also a ranking factor, and once I did this I noticed that some of my images weren’t loading properly on my site. This required me to check every page on my site (only 128) at the time for problems.
Another example of when checking changes is crucial, is if you are using widgets as a big part of your design. I recently changed my home page and discovered that certain widgets didn’t work properly on the mobile/tablet view and effectively made my website look a mess when viewed on those devices. For that reason always check using the mobile/tablet view in the “customiser” view and the buttons at the bottom of the left toolbar.
Contribute to Collaborative Posts
Getting backlinks to your site from other websites is no easy task and takes a hell of a lot of work. However, quite an easy way to do this for travel bloggers is to contribute to collaborate posts. You can find these in Facebook groups and other bloggers will announce that they would like to do a collaborate post where you contribute a small section, often 200-300 words, and in return, you get a backlink. Head to Travel Related Illnesses – Travel Bloggers Tell It All! to see an example.
Keep your content consistent
Keep your content consistent on your site, as well as the actual context of your posts try and keep the same look and feel. If you write about sport in one post and then travel in another, and the posts are unrelated, then you may confuse your readers and they may not come back for a second read.
Moz is a web service that runs a series of complex checks on your site, and then provides a DA or Domain Authority value. This ranges from 1-100 with 1 being the weakest and 100 the highest. Domain Authority is a calculation by Moz, as to how likely your content will rank on Google. So the higher the number, the more likely Moz thinks your website will rank. Having a high domain authority will hopefully mean you get more organic / search traffic, and you may also get opportunities, such as brands and businesses wanting to work with you, as Domain Authority is seen as an important statistic.
Create or acquire good quality images
To ensure your website looks high quality and professional try and only use high-quality images. This being images that are well composed, have good focus, colours and other things. If you wanted to buy images then I recommend heading over to Shutterstock who have one of the leading photography libraries.
You can also get free images under a Creative Commons CC0 license on sites such as pixabay.com.
Social Media is a great source of targeted traffic and also provides many other benefits. Keep reading for a few things you should definitely be doing for travel blogging.
Pinterest is a bookmarking service that allows you to save links to websites that you may want to go back to. Pinterest may take a bit of work and won’t bring you instant traffic, but once your pins get better you should see a nice flow of referral traffic from them.
As well as having easy to find sharing buttons on your pages, consider making specific images that your readers may want to pin, such as a nice image with text overlaid (see below).
You should also put the page title in the alt tags of this image, as this will be used in Pinterest as the description and to allow people to search and find the pin/link. You can add this later but it’s worth doing straight away. Head to my Pinterest account to see what it’s like.
Instagram is one of the best communities out there for people that love travel and photography. Through Instagram, you may make new friends, get inspired to visit new places and learn how to take better pictures. Instagram is valuable to offer clients once you have a lot of followers with good engagement, as brands may see you as being able to promote them. Head to my Instagram account to see some of my travel images.
Make it easy for people to share your posts
Having share buttons on your page is vital to building traffic and awareness of your content. The buttons should be easy to find and I would recommend not having too many. On my pages, I have the share buttons on the left which are floating and always there, as well as at the end of posts. I also don’t have too many, with the aim of not cluttering the page or giving readers too many to choose from.
Joint Facebook groups as applicable
Facebook is a great resource for Travel Bloggers and there is a range of pages out there to help you. Such as:
- Pinterest groups where you help promote each other’s pins, which in turn brings traffic.
- Collaboration groups which may provide guest post opportunities.
- Other related groups to help you grow traffic and your social media accounts, as well as discuss travel blogging.
A few good groups include:
- Ultimate Pinterest Group for Travel Bloggers
- Travel Bloggers Around the World
- Travel Collab Post Opportunities
Do you know of any other good groups? Leave a comment and let me know.
Networking and Other Tips
Networking is very important for travel blogging and here are a few things you should do:
Read other blogs
Reading other blogs is important for many reasons. You may be inspired to visit some of the places you read about, and also learn more about formatting, design techniques and may get inspired on ways to make your content better. I also subscribe to blogs that I really like, so I can read their posts more often.
Comment on other blogs
As well as reading other blogs commenting is also important and if you like what you read you should always leave a comment. This is a nice thing for the community as it helps publishers know that people like their content and have found it helpful. You should aim to leave a detailed and relevant comment, i.e. not just a few words.
You’ll find that when you leave a comment you’ll get a backlink back to your site too. This is almost always nofollow but I believe it does play a role in ranking and should get you traffic.
Make it easy for people to subscribe etc
Growing a mailing list is one way you can get repeat readers to your blog. These tend to be your most dedicated followers and is a good way to grow your traffic over time. As well as having a personal mailing list, you can also allow people to subscribe through WordPress, BlogLovin‘ or another mail system.
Make a Work with me/services page
Once your website and offering is big enough then you may want to start working with brands and businesses. For that reason create a Work with me page which will have information about your services, previous work and collaborations, as well as any feedback you have. This will also make your website look a lot more professional.
Network with Others
In the Travel Blogging world networking is extremely important. This allows you to meet other bloggers, brands and businesses. A few of the benefits of networking includes:
- You might make friends with similar interests such as photography and travel.
- Brands and businesses may want to work with you, such as sponsored spots, press trips to name a few things.
- You may learn more about the industry, including important trends and changes.
Submit your blog to directories
A way to improve your link profile, build links and hopefully also get traffic, is by submitting your site to blog directories. One of the best directories I submit to is:
- Blogarama – This site indexes new posts and I have seen traffic come to my site as a result. They have free and paid services available and the free version only allows up to 50 posts, with new posts replacing the oldest one in the list of 50. If you go for a paid plan then you’ll get unlimited posts indexed.
All the things above are vital to have a successful blog and to start growing your traffic. This has taken me about 6 months to learn all these things and reading countless sources of information. I hope it helps you with your blog.