I am rewriting my “So you want to be a luxury travel blogger” blog because the world of blogging has changed a lot since I wrote this a few years ago! The potential for bloggers has exploded in that time! I truly think that there is always a market for a good, Professional luxury travel blog. The industry will be uplifted with extraordinary bloggers and they will succeed. Get writing!
– Skip to the bottom of this post for my tips on the basics on starting your blog – absolutely no techie experience needed!
So you want to be a travel blogger? I receive many messages from wannabe bloggers. “How did you get to be a successful blogger?” I am asked this question along with “How do you make a lot of money blogging”? Let’s start with the basics. Here are a few things to get right before you put pen to paper.
- WHAT WILL YOU WRITE? Too many bloggers FAIL because they do not understand the importance of demographics. Those that succeed have a clear plan of WHO they are writing for, how to access this demographic and how to advertise to this audience.
- WHAT IS YOUR ‘SPECIALITY’ SUBJECT? Do you have a good knowledge of the subject? “I’m going to write about my exciting holidays”, just won’t cut it.
- CAN YOU WRITE TO A NICHE MARKET? This is a little bit vague but the more you find a ‘niche’ audience the more successful you will become. For example, if you write about travel and want to concentrate on ‘Adventure’ travel then this will be your ‘niche’ in the market. If you can make this niche even smaller by concentrating on a specific area of the world then so much the better.
- CAN YOU COMMIT TO YOUR BLOG SUBJECT? This is SO important and often overlooked by bloggers. You want to become a known ‘Brand’ and to be immediately identified in an overcrowded market. Do not start off with ‘adventure’ travel for example then change to Spa travel. You want to become a ‘GO TO’ authority in your niche market. PR’s will have you on a list for a specific client base.
- BECOME A BRAND! I started my blog because there were very few Luxury Travel bloggers who lived a luxury lifestyle. My audience base was my friends and wide social network who wanted to read about the same sort of places and experiences. The effect was like throwing a stone into a Lake. The ripple effect spread far and wide. I’m now well known as ‘Luxury Travel Diva’ and my audience is worldwide.
OK, so now you have worked out your own “Brand’ identity, figured out your exact Demographic targets. Here are some ideas on how to get going.
DO YOU HAVE SOMETHING NEW AND ORIGINAL TO ADD TO THE WORLD OF BLOGS? If the answer is YES continue reading OR I would now add another question ..Can you do it better? The world of blogging and influencers is changing at such a fast rate, it is difficult to keep track!
Times have changed since I first wrote this article. Blogs are now used as information resources to inform your readers. Bloggers have to be more Professional, have a knowledge of SEO, Statistics, good contacts ….. the list is growing!
I want to see more skilled and talented Luxury Travel bloggers. There are some excellent bloggers who are professional and a credit to the world of blogging. There is always room for talented people! I’m not writing about ‘influencers’ who post pretty photos and ….. that’s it! I mean talented writers who are out there experiencing, exploring and sharing their work.
ESTABLISH YOUR OWN BRAND IDENTITY:
Stand out in a crowded market, develop your own niche and stick to it!
ARE YOU A GOOD WRITER? This should be a very obvious question but just take a look at the thousands of badly written blogs floating around in cyber space and it will be apparent this is not the case! If you can write well, engage an audience and at least construct sentences correctly, please read on!
A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER? Well, if you can’t write then maybe you could start a photo travel blog. You have some very stiff competition, so make sure you are talented with good skills.
I know, I know, this is a very harsh critique but there is a lot of tough competition out there!
DO YOU HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION TO INVEST IN A BLOG? Again, it is a misconception to think that blogging is easy. It takes time to grow an audience, and to develop a blog. Researching a project, taking great photos and editing take an enormous amount of time and effort.
If you want to go on Press trips and Hotels stays, earn money from advertising and promotion, it is very enjoyable but also hard work. If you put in 100% effort the rewards are tenfold.
PHOTO: Enjoying Cannes, South of France
HOW DID YOU DO IT? Again, a question I am asked all the time! To be perfectly honest, I really don’t know the answer. I started a blog completely on a whim (after reading a couple of really bad efforts, and saying to myself “I can do better than that!”) and just got on with it, learning along the way.
However, I do cover many of the big luxury events around the world as a journalist/writer. I thoroughly enjoyed my ‘blog journey’. If it stops being fun, I will stop. I think it is a big mistake to try and come up with a “formula for success” . Bloggers who do try and copy others just appear contrived and unoriginal. Do what you love and are passionate about, too many bloggers give up too quickly when the going gets tough.
Find your own voice and your own interests and don’t follow those who have gone before – be an original not a copy! This is the best advice I can give you! AND do not be boring. WHY IS NO ONE READING MY BLOG? Another good question and I answer these questions here:
OK, well, if you are still reading and I haven’t put you off by being too rude and forthright ….. the next question I am always asked is:
PHOTO: Hard at work writing the blog!
HOW DO YOU MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BLOGGING?
This has a very simple answer, I DO NOT! To be honest, I was living a lifestyle that involved first class travel with my husband and exploring the world in a luxury style way before blogging came along.
Update: Times change and you can, if that is what you want to do, make money from your blog. These days MediaVine, Affiliate programs, online advertising and so on have changed the dynamic. If you grow a good following, you can make money from your blog.
But! I would add the caveat “Buyer Beware!” There are a lot of people selling courses for everything from “How to grow your Instagram” to “How to write a blog” to “SEO success” . These are the people making the big money. All of the information is available free on Youtube and Google!
Check out Youtube and good old Google search to find the answers and save a lot of money! There are a lot successful bloggers but they have put in at least a couple of years of hard work. If you need help, ask a blogger! I always help people who reach out to me. Actually one Italian Instagrammer now has over a half a million followers after taking my advice ….. damn, I should have charged him!
There are, however, some great FREE online courses that teach skills and offer advice to beginners. Avoid the ‘get rich’ ones though. It will take a long time to get established so please do not give up the day job just yet. It is hard work and takes time to grow a successful blog. It is possible to make money from Social Media advertising, your blog can earn money in a lot of different ways.
PHOTO: Home sweet Home for part of the year, the Cote d’Azur
I hope I have not put you off! Start writing now and become a travel blogger. you will make lovely new friends around the world. I find everyone to be friendly, encouraging and helpful. You will make new friends, discover new horizons and new challenges and it will be rewarding and satisfying in so many ways.
Learn new skills, test yourself in unimagined ways and a whole new exciting blogging world awaits. Set off on exciting trips to places you never even dreamed of before. I feel so happy when someone says “I love your blog!” or “I went on a trip you recommended!”
THE VERY BEST OF LUCK!
HOW TO START A LUXURY TRAVEL BLOG:
There are many useful articles already written on this subject and so I will not write another but here are some of the resources and websites I use. Remember to target your audience.
DO NOT be talked into buying an expensive blogging course! It is simply not possible to wave a magic wand and be a successful blogger. It takes hard work and commitment. If you want to spend some money, get a good website and if you are struggling then find someone locally who can come and teach you the basic skills.
WORDPRESS – If you can afford to pay an expert to set up your blog, I really would recommend that to you. I wasted HOURS learning how to set up WordPress and really wish I had just paid an expert! However, once it is all set up it is easy to use and even I find it user friendly.
GODADDY – Host my domain and operate WordPress through Go Daddy. Helpful, inexpensive and really user friendly. I would not change a thing!
YOAST – Make sure you use the free version of YOAST on your WordPress site. A really useful tool for SEO.
SPEED UP YOUR WEBSITE – Check your website speed. Running Ads slows the speed, so keep a check on it.
GOOGLE ANALYTICS – Essential! Makes sure you start as you mean to go on and learn the basics of analytics. Terrifyingly complicated at first but persist, it does get easier. Google Analytics offer a lot of help and resources to get you going. Use search.google.com too.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring SEO. It is the basis of a successful blog. If you want to be truly worldwide, use Yandex in Russia and Baidu in China too. SEO is horribly boring and a chore …… but you must do it! Just google and learn the basics.
Do not panic if the stats are not great at first, it takes time to rise up in the rankings and the more blog posts, the better!
CANVA – I use to create Pinterest long pins. My Pinterest views have increased every month since I started making a bit of effort! Once you have a couple of templates organised, it is easy peasy, even for me!
LIGHTROOM – Lightroom gives great results and you can set your own edit presets. Again, be original and play around with the settings and use your own. Do not copy other blog presets! DO NOT buy presets, make your own! Sharpening up your pics can make a big difference too. I learnt a lot watching Youtube tutorials.
I am concentrating on improving my photography skills and Lightroom really makes a big difference to the editing! Use the Lightoom App on your phone, for ‘on the go’ editing.
When you first start your blog you can invite guest bloggers to contribute an article to your blog. This helps get you a broader audience and provides links, another essential tool.
FACEBOOK – There are so many helpful Facebook groups dedicated to every possible type of blog. Sign up and join a friendly community!
YOUTUBE – I find to be so useful. Whenever I needed help with a Website or WordPress problem, I consulted Youtube and always found a helpful video. Youtube is helping me with my GoPro!
SOCIAL MEDIA – Grow a good social media following, the best way to tell the world about your blog, engage and chat to your followers. Again, it seems impossible at first, but keep going! I remember having 32 Instagram followers and wondering however I would get to 100! Again, there is some great advice from Instagrammers on Youtube about growing your Instagram.
The best advice I can give you is to INTERACT and search out Insta friends who have similar interests. Target your Social Media and concentrate on your own niche.
Pinterest is a very good way to get traffic to your website FAST, no need to wait to climb the Google ranking.
CAMERA – You need a decent camera (buy a second hand one on eBay if you can’t afford a new one). I use a Canon EOS and and GoPro Hero 6. My iPhone X takes great Portrait pics too.
HOW TO FIND PEOPLE TO READ YOUR BLOG? Well, you put in all the effort, the blog is up and running. How to find people who want to read it?
Again DO NOT ignore this and start as you meant to go on! My blog traffic comes from:
Search engines. How to drive traffic from search engines? Use appropriate Keywords (Google analytics will help yo choose keywords). Good content, suitable length (2,000 words ideally) with Internal links – link all of your blogs with similar topics. External links are important too.
DO NOT ignore emerging markets. For example, India is the 5th largest economy in the world and has some of the richest people in the world too! China and Russia are very important to the world of travel. Do not concentrate solely on the Western nations. Sign up for Baidu and Yandex.
My traffic also comes from Social Media, Instagram, Facebook (consider a FB promotion, drives a lot of traffic for just a few pounds) Pinterest. Make sure you use Pinterest as a search engine to drive traffic to your website.
So you want to be a luxury travel blogger? Well, the best of luck! If you are saying to yourself “I can do that!” – get writing now! Contact me if you need any advice, but I don’t guest blog or accept guest bloggers.
PHOTO: Explore the world and blog about it!