6 Things to know before even starting your travel blog
Blogging is hard
When you think of a ‘travel blogger’ you probably think about being well known, getting stuff for free, or traveling around the world to incredible locations while living like a king (or queen). But for 99.99% of travel bloggers that’s not reality. I’m not going to lie to you, blogging is fucking hard, and it’s hard for multiple reasons,
You have to enjoy writing and storytelling. You have to be driven, self motivated, and hold yourself accountable. You have to put out regular content (that people can find and WANT to read) and that’s not even getting into the marketing side of things (SEO, backlinks, guest posts etc). If you’re hoping to create a profitable travel blog and/or use your blog to support your travels, you’re going to have to dedicate a lot of time and effort to it. You’re going to spend a lot of time in front of your computer and there are going to be days when it’s not fun.
Like most things, the reality is much different (and harder) than what you see on the internet and honestly it’s not for everyone.
Your first stuff will suck
Years from now, you’ll look back at your first articles and go, “Who the hell wanted to read this? This is horrible!” Or you’ll look at the first version of your website and go “What the f*ck was I thinking!?” It’s only natural. It means you’ve grown as a writer (and a blogger).
Travel blogging is about progress, not perfection. In the beginning, don’t obsess about your work. Why? You’ll only get better by doing. Never wait for perfection. If you wait for perfection, you’ll never start your blog. It took me until version three of Of Whiskey and Words before I really felt like I had any idea what I was doing, but that’s just part of the ride.
Creating products is key
If you want to make money from your travel blog, it’s helpful to approach your blog as a platform to sell something else. Sure, there are people who will create a profitable website through ads, sponsored posts, links, and other passive streams. But the most reliable way to make money off a blog is through products like books, ebooks, courses, consulting services, design work, photography, art, etc. It might seem like a lot of work to create a product but once it’s available, you can rely on it to continuously make you money while you relax on a beach (which is most all of our goal).
You will fail- and that’s normal
I’ve wrote articles no one read. Reached out to brands that ignored me. Hosted webinars and no one showed up. Redesigned parts of my website that caused conversions to crash. Spent money on classes and trainings that didn’t do anything but lower my bank balance.
I’ve failed constantly — but it’s never stopped me. Failure is a teacher. Sure, it sucked wasting time and money on all these projects that didn’t work out but those failures taught me what not to do. If you believe in your mission, just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, learn, and move forward.
People can be really mean
The Internet brings out the best — and the worst — in people. They can get really mean. So mean that you’ll want to curl up into a ball and cry. So mean you’ll ask yourself ‘why am I doing this?’ and think about quitting. You have to learn to develop a thick skin. It takes time to learn to do this, but don’t take it personally. It’s never about you. It’s about their problems and their lives. People like to troll to make themselves feel better. You’re just their current target and you can’t stop the show for haters- they paid to hate.
Collect emails from day one
It’s easy to get caught up in the page views/sessions/users per month game. It can also be REALLY exciting when a post gets a lot of love and suddenly your numbers soar. But to develop a sustainable, dedicated audience, you’ve got to capture those emails.
When a reader gives you their email address, they’re telling you that they want more. They want to know when you post new content, or when you release a new product. They don’t want to forget about you. It might feel fruitless to start an email list in the beginning, when your numbers are low and the growth of your list is slow. But every single reader counts.