5 Travel Blogging Tips For Beginnners

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A picture showing various SEO and other web keywords, which relate to travel blogging tips for beginners.

Sitting down and writing my first travel post was both intimidating and exciting. We dream about building a travel blog that will become popular one day, maybe even make us some money. But there are so many mistakes that can be made along the way–it’s no wonder the average travel blog lasts only six months. I just wish someone had shared with me the travel blogging tips for beginners that I’m about to share with you today.

My lesson was grueling and difficult.

I spent thousands of dollars on SEO companies that yielded no results; they gladly took the money and made off with empty promises. Although I found plenty of advice online, nothing was truly actionable. Nothing showed me a real live case. The advice I read sounded okay, but I just didn’t know if it would work, or if it was all theory.

Wordpress Screenshot of a Blog Post of Banker in the Sun.
I try to break the text up with different font sizes, bullet-points, and bold styles. Creating “white space” or blank space on the screen makes text more reader-friendly. When creating client brochures at the banks, white-space was in the forefront of our consideration.

What I am about to share with you are the techniques I used to hit Google’s first page for the keywords I choose.

These 5 travel blogging tips for beginners will help you focus on what works, and forget what doesn’t.

I’m also going to back these travel blogging tips with some concrete numbers for you to chew on. First of all, let me preempt this by stating an unpopular opinion:

Leaving an amalgam of comments on each other’s blogs (ie comment-sharing) is really not the right way to build popularity with your true readers.

Time and patience is.

Investing time to get real readers.

I did try leaving comments on other travels blogs, hoping to generate traffic. Result? Not worth mentioning. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have the time to spare chain-commenting on travel blogs. I would rather hone my SEO techniques and drive real, buying traffic.




Disclaimer: Before I get started, let me say that this is what has worked for me–and that no two travel blogs are alike. So what has worked for me may not always work for you, and vice versa.

Here are my top 5 travel blogging tips I wish I’d known when I first started my travel blog:

1. Don’t Comment On Other Travel Blogs

There are twenty new banks, each of which has a banker. The bankers all agree to open an account with each other’s banks. Now each bank doesn’t look so new. They each have twenty accounts.

That’s twenty useless accounts, considering the target customers are buyers out there, not the banks themselves.

Unless you really enjoy your fellow blogger’s article, don’t spend hour upon hour mechanically commenting when truly deep down you don’t give a rat’s behind about the 7 Ways To Sleep In A Cave. Seriously. I found myself even doing comment exchanges and having to read 30 posts (I won’t lie, it felt like homework), leaving 30 comments or more a week, and not enjoying the process at all. It’s not that I didn’t love some of the posts, it’s just that it became inefficient. The results were definitely not worth the effort.

I even hired a guy to help me out at some point.

That’s just how tedious it got.

Today, I only comment on a post if I truly enjoy it. This is the way it should be. If I don’t leave a comment, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the post. I just may not have time. Why is this one of my top travel blogging tips for beginners?

Google Page Search showing a Banker in the Sun article at the top of the search listings.
Instead of comment-sharing, invest the time in learning SEO techniques. I promise it will pay off.

Because you should use that valuable time instead mastering SEO. Which leads me to point 2, and a graph.

2. Learn SEO, and Learn it Quick!

Almost every one of my articles ranks on the first page of google for the keywords I choose. How much does it cost to move abroad? Cost of living in Saudi Arabia? Lebanon? Vietnam? Cambodia? Nepal? Laos? Travel Blogging Mistakes? Best Cities for Digital Nomads? I can keep going on and on. All of them rank high, and I’m not bragging. I’m just trying to drive my point home.

The rise to page 1 takes about 3 months–the ensuing traffic is a relief. If I could give a new travel blogger one big piece of advice, it is to learn SEO, AND LEARN IT WELL. You can write a great post and still have an awesome SEO foundation. It is a lot easier writing a valuable post and watching automatic Google, Yahoo, and Bing traffic roll in, than having to leave a ton of half-hearted comments on travel blogs.

A live Google Analytics Screen shot of my blog showing a steadily increasing amount of Google traffic over the months. This is the result of following proper travel blogging tips.
Forget Alexa, Page Rank, or Domain Authority. These can easily be manipulated. The long road is the right road.  Work on driving traffic through search engines. Nothing speaks louder to any advertiser than actual buyer traffic.

I get an average of 1.6 pageviews per session, so today, in my 9th month, I get about 250-300 pageviews per day just from Google alone. I simply applied bank marketing theory to my blog, nothing more.

The beauty of SEO is that If you sit down and do absolutely no social media marketing, you will still get tons of pageviews every month from Google and other search engines. Banker in the Sun gets about 9,000 pageviews a month from Google right now. If I activate social media, I can spike monthly pageviews to 20-40,000. Here’s an example in August:

A monthly graph showing travel blog traffic at almost 20,000 pageviews for Banker in the Sun.
Admittedly, when I use social media boosters, my bounce rate tanks–but my subscription list goes up significantly.

This is targeted and buyer traffic. Which leads us to…

3. Targetting Your Traffic

There are too many travel blogs out there competing for the same precious free minutes of a reader’s time. So how do we capture their attention? I found out that by targeting my traffic, I captured a lot of page views and scored more points with Google.

If your blog is about 50 year old+ travel–stick to it. Don’t start adding gap-year posts into the mix. That was my problem at first. I was all over the place. It got me nowhere in terms of lasting readership; they couldn’t figure out what I was about. Today, Banker in the Sun is about Saudi Arabia and about financial advice for travelers. It isn’t necessarily about budget travel. It is about working and the costs of living abroad, with a generous side dish of Saudi Arabian culture.

That doesn’t mean I don’t talk about other stuff, it just means my primary focus is specific. I’m a banker. I talk about money.

I write about what I know and what I love. I don’t search to see what the popular keywords are out there, or what google’s trends are. I write about what I truly enjoy sharing. By doing this, I automatically target traffic which can relate to me, as you would to those who relate to you.

4. Interlink and External Links

This may seem trite, but it is one of the most important travel blogging tips. Links prevent your readers from “bouncing” off your travel blog to your competitor’s blog. I always add plenty of links in my posts. I’d recommend ten links or more. These should be a mix of interlinks within your blog, as well as external authority links.

A WordPress Blog Post with internal and external links being added in.
A compelling blog post will have some internal and external links. Make sure you link to relevant posts, and that external links go to authority domains.

I always use authority links, such as BBC, Lonely Planet, and other trusted names. The higher their page rank, the better. I also try to choose links whose posts look appealing. I’ll never send a reader to a crappy or plain-looking page.

Linking alone takes me a good hour or two per post.

5. Value

Last and definitely not least, is understanding your value proposition. I would venture to say that this the most important of all travel blogging tips for beginners. When people visit Banker in the Sun, I want them to feel like they got their time’s worth. I hope they did. I write about topics which draw heavily from my banking and Saudi Arabian background, and share what I think my targeted readers would value.

I don’t write about stuff like How to Catch A Bat In 5 Easy Steps. Even if it was a popular travel keyword, I’ll leave that to the bat experts. Again, I only write about what I love. What I know. Success may not be quick, but I believe if we’re true to ourselves, success will come.

I don’t think anyone ought to approach a travel blog with the intent to make money

but rather the intent to share good, sound advice and stories. If readers value this, the money will eventually come.

If you’ve run out of topics to write about, check your Google Analytics. See what keywords got people onto your website. Write about that. When I wrote one post about Saudi Arabia, I saw a huge demand, so I wrote many more posts–each of which guided me to new keywords.

A picture of Google Analytics mobile showing 60 current active visitors to Banker in the Sun.
A successful social media campaign will give your travel blog a nice boost.

Each one of the travel blogging tips above merits an entire class. Even the subject of value gets complicated, but I hope my trials and errors have shed some light on what may or may not work for you.

I haven’t talked money at all, because I believe value is what needs to come first. I hope these travel blogging tips for beginners help you. I wish someone had told me to quit worrying about Alexa ranks and all that useless stuff, and instead focus on building solid, SEO traffic.

Again, there are many techniques to drive big traffic. I am sharing what worked for me,

I’d love to hear what has worked for you!
 

What are your top travel blogging tips? What is the single, most important piece of advice you would give a new travel blogger?

 
 

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16 comments on “5 Travel Blogging Tips For Beginnners

  1. I have a blog (not in the travel niche) and have learned the same lessons the hard way. Initially I wrote what I thought my readers needed to know rather than what they wanted to know. So in the past few months I’ve been writing to answer the questions that people were searching for by targeting specific keywords. Since May my traffic has gone from 15,000 sessions to 87,000 sessions per month.

    If you don’t know where to begin, may I recommend a free SEO course? There’s no catch and I have no monetary interest in this business. I personally found it very helpful. You can sign up for it here: http://www.wevecreatedamonster.com/
    Deane Alban recently posted…Brain Exercises That Keep Your Mind SharpMy Profile

  2. I know I’m just stalking this blog at this stage but what are your thoughts on trailing away from the main theme for a bit? For example, I’m currently writing about my experiences in Saudi Arabia (in a kinda funny way) and sometimes I just want to write about other things (in a kinda funny way). Does it make sense to have a humour blog that is also a travel blog? What I need is a blog mentor, do they exist? 😛

    1. I think that blogging in niches is all about trial and error, and you’ll soon find your specific strength by trying it out and seeing how well it is received by readers. If you are IN Saudi Arabia right now, though, I’d watch what I write about. They do keep track of all bloggers and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of the law (even if what you write about seems harmless to you–you’d be surprised).

  3. I’ll take your advice and comment as I found the article useful. We’ve been getting steady enough traffic, and get to number 1 for all our hostel reviews, but for our better articles it’s a bit more difficult to get that high. I’m committing to properly learning about SEO this month – I was just wondering what’s your number 1 tip for me when getting started (either resource, approach or actual technique)?

    1. The issue is people may write about “ways to get over loneliness” instead of targeting “ways to get over loneliness in Paris”. They’ll rank quickly with the latter.

      My number 1 tip sounds like something a school teacher would say: buy William Strunk’s “The Elements of Style”. Good writing and presentation takes precedence over SEO. I firmly believe Google understands this and analyzes posts for proper presentation, structure, and conclusion.

  4. This is a very helpful post; thanks for sharing. It has really inspired me to make an effort to learn more about SEO and really apply it to our blog. I have recently come to the same conclusion you did that commenting on other travel blogs with a few rare exceptions is mostly a waste of time. Thanks!
    Jan Ross recently posted…Spend the Winter in Phoenix, ArizonaMy Profile

    1. Jan, I feel that specificity is a lot more effective than a broad topic. For example, instead of writing about “Dating in Vietnam”, one would have a lot better rankings by writing about “Dating in Ho Chi Minh City”. Being more specific is a lot better than a wide-area approach.

  5. Truly insightful post. Though my blog is more about movies and music than travel, your points are still very relevant. However I won’t totally discount other activities like commenting on other blogs since I do get a significant amount of traffic through those links, some going to years back.

    Great blog by the way, I enjoy reading your posts and perhaps one day travel 365 days year:)

    1. Thank you! I agree that leaving comments on some posts is well-warranted, but I usually pick posts that I truly enjoy reading. I just hate seeing a line-up of comments that look spun 🙂

  6. great article and very helpful and thought inspiring…we’re very new bloggers (even though we’re a year old) and have thought about the things you have talked about here

    it’s refreshing to hear some honest advice and some practical tips to help drive traffic to our site, will definitely try employ some of your tips

    thanks

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