Travel has always been big business—in fact, the travel and tourism industry provides the number one service export in the United States—but it’s become a true juggernaut in recent years thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of travel blogging. The Internet has made armchair travel easier than ever before, and with thousands of bloggers making travel not just a hobby, but a lifestyle and career, the potential audience for an exceptional travel blog is enormous.

Cashing in on the bounty offered by the travel industry requires more than slapping up a quick prefab website and shopping for sponsors. For starters, it’s not all free plane tickets and comped margaritas; your eyes must be wide open to the significant challenges that accompany building a successful travel blog. In addition, it’s critical to invest time and research in discovering the right niche for your new blog. Whether it’s focused on a specific region, age group, or other category, finding the right niche can make all the difference between a blog that soars and one that falls flat on its face.

Your blog needs a home on the Web, and researching the right hosting provider is very important. Travel blogs often feature lots of photos and videos, so make sure you carefully evaluate potential hosts to make sure they’ve got the bandwidth, storage, and other features your new blog requires.

As with any other blog, creating your own original content will be another essential part of your success. High-quality content that’s useful, actionable, and interesting to your target audience will go a long way toward building an following that can provide lucrative ad revenue or even be converted into customers for your inevitable travel book. And don’t forget the photos! Investing in quality photography gear (and training, if necessary) can have a big impact on your blog’s readership and shareability.

In addition to the original content you’ll be sharing on your blog, smart use of social media in your promotional efforts can pay off handsomely. Engaging your audience and participating in discussions, as well as sharing a variety of content (rather than simply broadcasting your own) will go far in building and growing your online following and fandom.

Ready to chase your dreams and document your globe-trotting adventures for the masses? Before you grab your laptop and your camera, remember that focusing your vision and audience, choosing the right tools, and creating compelling content are the first steps on the journey to travel blogging success.

Travel Blog

How to Create a Wildly Successful Travel Blog

The travel-blogging industry is continually growing, with more and more people wanting to make traveling the world their full-time job. Travel blogging requires passion, hard work and determination. Do you have what it takes? Use this guide to get your started on making your dream a reality.

Pick a Niche

The first step is choosing a niche that will make you stand out from all of the other travel blogs. It’s important to choose a specific niche that allows you to focus on one thing. For example, writing a blog about traveling in Latin America would be more difficult to do than a blog about backpacking in the Andes Mountains.

Ask yourself the following questions when choosing a niche:

Instead of a general travel blog, consider focusing on:

Unique Travel Blog Niches

What’s in a Name?

Once you have chosen your niche, you can start thinking of what you want to name your blog.

Be creative! Use these ideas to create a unique blog name:

Make a list of keywords related to your blog then look for synonyms and etymologies of those words.

Do I Need a Host?

If you are serious about blogging, and eventually making money from your blog, then you should consider using a host.

A host will provide the following:

Using a host is affordable. There are a variety of hosts offering their services for less than $5 per month (some as low as $1.99).

Before making your decision, do some research.

Get Started with WordPress

More than 50% of Technorati’s top 100 blogs use WordPress, and for a good reason. WordPress is fast, easy to use and offers customizations for a unique site. The following will help you get your WordPress blog started.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are tools meant to make WordPress more functional for both you and your readers. Here are some plugins that will help you with your travel blog.

Social Media Plugins

Being active on social media sites is integral to a successful blog.

Start Writing

Once you are all set up on WordPress, you can start to focus on what the readers want, content!

Spend time on your title! It appears in search engine results, RSS feeds and social media, so it needs to be highly clickable.

Engage your readers! Write about your experiences, not just general info they can find elsewhere.

Let your personality shine in your posts, and make them personal.

Readers don’t have a very long attention span, so keep it brief.

Add depth to your post and make it useful to your readers by:

Make your post scannable! Since only 16% of people want to read a website word for word, you will want to make it easy for them to scan.

Invite guest bloggers, but maintain the editorial integrity of the site by ensuring the articles they contribute are up to the same standard you hold yourself to.

Be consistent! Consistency in your publishing is important when building an audience. Create a publishing schedule and stick to it so your readers will know when to expect your next post.

Picture Perfect

Great photos are a staple for any travel blog. People want to see what you are experiencing.

Invest in a camera! When traveling the world you will need a reliable camera to capture your adventures.

When choosing you camera you will need to consider the following:

Digital Photography School

A resource for everything photography, suggests the following for taking photos of your adventures:

When you can’t find the right photos in your own library, don’t forget about the plugin mentioned above, Photo Dropper and other similar plugins.

If you’ve got the camera, and checked out some online tips and still don’t feel comfortable with your camera, take a class to improve your skills.

Check with the local photography stores to see if they offer any classes. Sign up for an online photography class or workshop. Some, like Matadoru.com, offer travel photography courses.

Get Your Name out There

You will need to become part of the travel blog community if you want to be successful. Using social media to your advantage will drive traffic to your blog.

Join the community:

Social Media: Promote your blog on your social media networks.

Boost the Authority of Your Blog

Getting new readers daily and building your links is extremely important.

Making Money

Before you even consider this step, you need to make sure that you have done everything above, successfully established yourself as a trusted travel blogger and build a substantial audience.

Ways to Make Money Advertising

Only the largest blogs can rely solely on advertising to make a profit.

Google Adsense

Yahoo Published Network

Fastclick

Native Advertising

Affiliate Opportunities

Merchandise

Public Speaking

Consulting

How Do They Do It?

Here is a look at how two top travel bloggers make money with their blog.

y Travel Blog

Wandering Earl.com

Hang in There

If your goal is to make a living with your blog, you have to be patient and work hard.

Stick with it! It does not happen overnight.

According to a survey by FHR, more than 20% of travel bloggers say it took them 6-12 months to begin making money from their blog.

You may be working 60+ hours a week, but once you are established your work time will balance out.

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