When I first started my travel blog just over a year ago I knew that it was going to be successful. It had to be. Failure was never an option.
A lot of people start travel blogging wondering ‘how’ they will be able to compete with some of the other top travel blogs who are already established and have been plying their craft for years. I’ve heard some say it’s nearly impossible to break into a field that is already saturated. Why even bother when the odds are stacked against you?
In a word – passion. Passion to travel. Passion to share stories. Passion to take photos. Passion to create travel videos. Passion to give advice that is going to help others. Ultimately, passion is the determining factor of whether or not you are going to be successful with your travel blog. The more ‘unrealistic’ you are with your dreams, goals and imagination, the more likely it is that you are going to achieve ‘incredible’ things.
How To Create A Successful Travel Blog
Passion is going to ignite a level of confidence in yourself. With a high degree of confidence and certainty you’ll be catapulted to take massive action towards achieving your goals. With massive action you’ll start to see results that will help confirm your belief that what you’re doing is worthwhile. With impressive results you’ll grow even more passionate about your projects. It’s the feedback loop of success. This isn’t limited to just travel blogging – it’s really the determining factor in just about any field.
The good news is that hard work, determination and consistent effort is going to help you achieve your blogging goals. The bad news is that hard work alone isn’t going to cut it. It’s about working ‘smart’ and realizing that what it takes to make a successful travel blog is more than just creating posts on your own site and leaving things up to chance. There are a number of phases a travel blog must endure before it is considered mature or successful:
Phase 1 (Building The Snowball)
Every travel blog – even the top travel sites today – started out from scratch. My travel blog was once bare bones and so was yours. All of us have pressed ‘publish’ for the first time wondering who on earth -other than friends and family – is actually going to read this post? Phase 1 is the most clumsy phase but it is also the most crucial. Any travel blog that I’ve noticed achieve success, in a short period of time, absolutely crushes it during this phase.
This is the phase where you need to eat, sleep & breathe your site day in and day out. Without a herculean effort it becomes a daunting task for your travel blog to receive any sort of traction. In order for a snowball to accumulate mass and eventually propel itself down the hill, it first requires a considerable effort. The following is a list of things that I feel are essential for a site to reach its full potential in phase 1:
1) Consistent Content
You’re going to be wanting to churn out content on your own site as consistently as possible. Posting sporadically or whenever ‘inspiration’ comes just isn’t going to cut it. Imagine a serious athlete training for an event. Do they take days/weeks off when they ‘don’t’ feel like’ training? Nope. If you want your site to do well creating a consistent posting schedule is a key component.
2) Rocking Social Media
In the beginning stages ‘Google’ is not your best friend. They tend to favour the kid who has been around the block a few times. Sites that have mature domains, loads of content and a strong link profile get all of the love from the search engines; however, social media is a way you can light a fuse under your site and watch it blow up quickly. Rocking platforms such as facebook, stumble upon, twitter and pinterest are going to help drive traffic to your site. Once again, this is something that cannot be done sporadically. Consider social media the travel blogging equivalent of brushing your teeth. I doubt you’d go a day without brushing your teeth and I wouldn’t suggest letting a day pass without engaging in social media in some capacity.
3) Getting Your Name Out There
You’re a complete nobody when you first start out. It’s great having ‘Mom follow along’ but in order to create a successful travel blog you need a solid readership. In the initial stages, one of the easiest ways to attract this for your site is to become a fully immersed in the travel blogging community. Commenting, tweeting, stumbling and promoting the work of others is the name of the game. It’s all about being a ‘team player’ and hoping that others eventually reciprocate. The travel blogging community is for the most part full of incredible people willing to help one another out. Although there has been a lot of posts and chatter lately about things being somewhat toxic, it’s really only a few that are actively seeking to spoil the party for others. Anyhow, you want to be a bit like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character, propelling yourself in a kamikaze like fashion in as many places as you possibly can to get your name out there.
4) Building Links
Building links is the ‘travel blogging’ equivalent of training for an event. One doesn’t notice the gruelling hours spent in the gym, track or field, but this is where the elite competitors separate themselves from the pack. It’s not enough to have a nice blog design, write compelling prose, tantalize with stunning photography or set the world on fire with cleverly composed travel videos. Without a strong link profile your ship (travel blog) is left out at sea.
The truth of the matter is that links are still (and even in the future when social signals play a more significant role) the currency of exchange when it comes to how well your site is going to do in the search engines. Without new eyeballs on your site each and every day, growing your blog readership and fan-base is like trying to swim laps in quicksand.
There are a number of ways to build links. Doing link exchanges, guest posting & commenting on other blogs & forums are all part of the equation. One of the easiest ways to check the progress of your site’s link profile is to track its domain authority (which is updated roughly once a month) by installing the SEOmoz toolbar.
ETA: This stage is the make or break period for successful travel blogs. A lot of travel bloggers burn out in this phase and give up inches before they’ve crossed the finish line. The truth is that this phase can last a while or it can be over within a few months. Whether one is the tortoise or the hare, has a lot to do with the passion, effort, commitment and skill-level one has during this phase. Many bloggers mention the first 6 months as the time period before things really start to take-off. I’ve seen sites get beyond this stage in less time than that. On the other hand, I’ve seen sites that have required a lot more time than this. The main thing is to NOT GIVE UP during this phase.
Phase 2 (Gaining Traction with the Snowball)
In phase 2 things start getting a little easier. If phase one is the gang initiation period, phase 2 is where you’ve earned your stripes. At this point, the efforts you’ve made to create consistent content, rock social media, get your name out there and build links have paid off in spades. At this point your site has achieved a solid readership base and is well known within the travel blogging community. It also has a strong social media footprint and receives solid traffic from Google and other search engines.
The good news is that you can let the pedal off of the gas a bit from time to time at this stage. Some signs that you’ve reached this stage include traffic not dropping off significantly when/if you haven’t posted in a while and other sites linking to you on a consistent basis.
This is the phase when you can start thinking beyond the blog. This is a great time to start other projects (other sites, ebooks, youtube videos, freelancing, etc) because the effort needed to grow your site in phase 1 is no longer necessary in stage 2. You will, of course, still need to post consistently, utilize social media, get your name out there and build links; however, the main difference is that you can do it more moderately at this stage.
This is an exciting stage for your blog because at this point you’re no longer the rookie and your efforts don’t fall upon deaf ears.
ETA: It could take months or years to reach this stage. The majority of travel blogs (even some of the most successful ones) will likely plateau in this area for a considerable period of time or never reach the next level. In order to reach the final stage it takes a lot of effort and dedication and likely years of hard work and expertise to finally arrive at that level.
Phase 3 (No Longer a Snowball – You’re an Avalanche)
Yes. At this point you’re truly crushing it. This is when you’ve made it. Your site receives enormous traffic, has a huge following and is a respected authority within your field. Companies are lining up to work with you and industry professionals are requesting you to speak at conferences. This is the level I aspire to be at in some given point in time.
When you’ve reached this level you’ll be ranked near or at the top of every top travel blogging list. No matter what metric is being measured, your site at this given point in time will be elite in all areas. Some sites that have achieved this level of success and respect are The Planet D and Stuck in Customs. Aside from working hard on all of their sites and having a refined skill-set they have another important thing in common: they’ve been doing this consistently for years.
The key formula to reaching this level is to pass through phases one and two and stick with your site with the same level of commitment over a significant period of time. When defining the career of any successful writer, athlete or politician, it’s not done over a period of weeks or months, but instead it takes years – or possibly even decades – for the final chapters to be written.
The title of this post is ‘How to create a Successful Travel Blog in your first year of blogging.’ This article has instead morphed into something bigger covering the three phases of development your travel site and career can eventually follow. As a travel blogger starting out, it’s possible to get beyond stage one in your first year; however, it’ll require a ridiculously high level of dedication. I’ve personally seen certain sites grow at an immense rate as if they were a stuntman being blasted out of a cannon. It’s certainly feasible for your site to do well within the first year of blogging, but only for those prepared to roll up their sleeves and put in some serious hard/smart work.
Are you going to get burnt out in stage one and throw in the towel? Will you stick around long enough to reach stage II? Or will you put in the effort it takes to grow your blog and refine your skills to the point where you’re an authority in the industry?
That’s a question only you can answer.
Nice tips to start travel blog! Thank you for sharing the post.
What a great post! I am in phase 1 and this information is really helpful. I will keep following your site for sure and I hope you would enjoy visiting mine aswell.
Great article it helps every beginner in blogging.Thanks for sharing please keep sharibng content like this.
Thanks a lot! I am just starting a travelling blog/website about travelling Asia. This article really makes me want to step up the game! Thanks again for the great tips and inspirations.
Great article! definitely what I needed to get the motivation up 🙂
Thanks for guiding for Travel Blog.it’s help alot!
Great article! This is exactly what I needed to see hope at the end of the tunnel, and nobody is talking about this, ever. I have been running my travel blog for 2 years and a half, and I wish I could have read this earlier, so I would have reached a higher level, sooner.
Thanks so much, and keep up the good work, Sam!
Great article Sam! I’ve been blogging for almost a year and am constantly looking for articles which actually help with building a blog (there’s a lot of fluff out there!). I’ve done OK on the link building front, but my traffic only really comes from social media 🙁 – think I need to go back to phase one and work on SEO and consistent content (a three month break hasn’t helped!) but, as always, it’s a labour of love and will be worth it in the end. Thanks for the tips and the inspiration!
This is all super interesting. I feel i’m currently in the “building the snowball” phase. Reading this, i’m realizing i need more consistent posting. I’m doing plenty of traveling, but with a full time job as well its hard to catch up with my blog posts. Do you think long travel posts do well, or is it better to chop up your trip with different posts? Thanks so much! Michelle
Great post although a bit old now in web terms. I think it applies, as you mentioned, to many things in life and people tend to give up because it all seems a little bit difficult. We are in the early throes of Stage 1 I’d say after a good 3/4 months of serious blogging and site development. I know we need to reach out more so that’s the next phase for us! Keep rocking it Sam.
I think its tougher and tougher. It helps if you started a decade ago:)
Very nice tips! Thank you!
I see that you wrote this post 4 years ago, when it comes to 2016, I think the travel blogging industry is much more saturated and there is not much space for new travel bloggers. Ranking in google has never been this hard before.
What is your opinion about this ? What do you think about future of travel blogging? Not the future of established people like you, but the future of newbie travel bloggers who just started their blog in 2016?
I think it is great to get into video right now. I’ve seen some channels go from zero to exploding with the right niche and consistency in terms of posting.
I dont need to make any money from a travel blog to be able to travel, I am already a well-established freelance web developer. Although I do have a blog, just like everyone else does 🙂
I have been making websites for well over 10 years so am fairly qualified to say that most of these articles are complete crap and that everyone is singing the same song! You only have to look at how many comments articles like this are getting from miss informed people who think that commenting will get them the all-important links they are after. They are completely oblivious to the simple facts like its the anchor text in the links that matters. And that Google most probably dont give 2 sh*ts about links from blog comments!
Its also good to come back and visit posts from a few years ago and check the links in the comments to see how many actually made it. Not a lot! Because at the end of the day people are dreaming if they think they are going to make money online easily and lots of people are selling that dream. You make money online by working hard and being good at what you do just like you would make money off line! In my case I went to college then gained many years work experience before I became freelance.
Anyways before I start a long rant about these kind of posts there is one thing I want to point out that all travel bloggers are forgetting to mention. The key point you all forget to mention. YOU GOT LUCKY. I see this all the time in my line of work. Some websites (Even some really sh*t ones) make it and some (Even really good ones) dont. Yes working hard is a major contributing factor but nobody in any of these type of posts is admitting how lucky they are!
Oh and your post is actually a lot more spot on than most. Selling the making money online dream by telling people they can make money online by doing the same thing is old!
Im not even going to post my link. No point in adding more cattle to the farm! Networking with fellow ‘digital nomads’ and travelers is more my intention for replying. And as far as the countless travel blogs go yours is actually quite enticing 🙂
Thank you so much for inspiration and encouragement! I am just on the first stage but I won’t give up :)) And of course I invite you to visit my blog! feetoutofbed.com
Hi Samuel, I startet to read all the comments but it are too many. You are definitively very successful. Congratulations! We are blogging about three years mainly only writing content. Quite frustrating at times as only few readers find our blog. Only for a couple of weeks we startet with linkups. It helps already a little bit to push the numbers up. It’s amazing how much other has to be done but writing and photographing! And, how much we still have to learn …
I remember reading this post when I first started blogging. Now we’ve just reached our first year of travel blogging and we’ve made it into the second stage which is exciting but frustrating. I’m happy with my numbers but I want to grow more – I feel like it takes a lot of work to move into phase three.
Helloo man, This is just creating another ripple effect on inspiring more people to travel through the stories these people will now share, so hats off to you. Good for you for giving tour guiding a go!
As someone new to the travel blog scene, it makes my heart glad that even though you have “made it” that you share useful information with the up and comers in building a successful blog. I am currently in the building the snowball phase, and it is a grind. Hopefully I get there.
Thank you for your helpful tips.
Great stuff Sam . I just started my travel blog a few weeks ago and I am determined to NOT throw in the towel – but motivated to push till I succeed 🙂 It IS super hard work though and I am eating, breathing – even dreaming – about my blog day in / day out . I don’t know how/why I thought I could spend couple of hours a week and be done with it – Nope – Its NOT that easy – the blog has taken over my life and now I am even more determined to make it happen 🙂
I was planing to start a travel blog. This post helped me a lot to understand about a blog as am a beginner .. thanks a lot
reading this blog, feels like reading my own thoughts for the avalanche stage of my passion 🙂
Hey! Thank you for this article, although it is already a couple of years old, google is finding it. And to be honest yes I clicked because of course I want my blog to be successful. So in a sence I just want to thank you for putting pure clarification into the steps, Somehow it makes things a little easier. lets see where this next year will take me.
Since I’v just started blogging, obviously I’v checked out a bunch of these articles. But I dont think anyone has spoken with so much clarity and direction as you have! Love your simple analogies and how easily you have broken down the stages into 3 parts! Wish you all the success in conquering Phase 3!
I stumbled upon this article today, and timing couldn’t have been better. I have been travelling for last two years but never decided to start my own blog, always thinking that there are already so many awesome travel blogs in the web space, who is going to read my blog. But then two months back I decided to take a plunge and start writing passionately. It took me a while to set up the blog but it has finally gone live last week. I do realise that it is easy to set up the blog but will require hell lot of work and patience to build from here. I agree with your Phase 1 and Phase 2. I am now starting with Phase 1. 🙂
Great article, Samuel!
Thank you for the reminder to chug along during the first phase 🙂
I only hope to make it to the highest level one day.
Thanks for the article Sam!
It’s interesting how you wrote this post exactly 3 years ago and almost none of the things have changed. The consistency is still what makes a good blog stand out.
I’m still in the Phase one, or better say at the bottom of Phase one, but somehow I became obsessed /in a good way ofc/ with my blog so I hope I’ll make it to the Phase 2 in a reasonable amount of time.
Keep up a good work cause I’ll definitely follow you for some more advice!
Greetings from Croatia,
Many bloggers mention the first 6 months as the time period before things really start to take-off. I’ve seen sites get beyond this stage in less time than that. On the other hand, I’ve seen sites that have required a lot more time than this. The main thing is to NOT GIVE UP during this phase.
thank you for sharing your experience. it is very helpful 🙂
I came across this post at the perfect time – I REALLY needed the insight and a pep talk!! Thank you ~ Thank you for this post!
That’s cool Tim! Best wishes with your blog.
I started a blogger blog, went flat.So I switched to my own domain and got on Hostgator, been a month now and i have gotten 500 visitors, so slow, I’m hoping your advice will be the push I need . I write about Asia , SE Asia mostly and its a fickle niche . Hard to get going . Thanks for the advice.
Thanks for the advice.they really inspiring.As a new blogger i have found this blog really useful.
Thanks Sam for some great insights into the world of travel blogging. I think dedication, passion and hard/smart work is the key to success. If you believe in your product and it delivers value to a lot of people you are going to go far.
Good read Sam, you write well. I have a double hurdle to get over. It took me years to build my web site – it’s got a bit more going on under the bonnet than a blog site. So when I felt ” Finally – its done!” I knew it’s just the beginning. My target market is exactly the same as any travel blogger, so I guess that makes me one in a way. Only the story is not about me but how my readers can use my site to work and travel and not them read about me doing it. So a travel blogger in reverse? Anyway, the point I want to make is I have 100’s of great stories and ideas to tell people why they should go off and be a Working Traveller but bombarding them with ‘Too Much Information’ is overload no? Once a week email and pushed out to all SM is enough no? Plus posting in groups and commenting as you say and so on. I could post an interesting blog every day but I can’t see that is beneficial. Maybe to Mr Google for sure but to the actual travellers and would be travellers – I see it as too much don’t you think? I’d be interested in your thoughts.
Fantastic post! A lot of really good tips, and I love how you tell it how it is. Been growing my site for 6 months now, and it’s improved so much in so many ways. I still eat, sleep, and breath my website and everything related to it, but I like it!
I love reading your posts! This one is so true and so crucial and I’m just beginning to learn that. Failure is definitely not an option and as I learn, I can’t wait to gain more readership and for the blog to grow!
Keep doing you! Loved reading this.
firstname.lastname@example.org as well.
Great article Sam. Thanks for the advice. I just started my Fashion l Travel Blog and I definitely need more articles on there. I have started with my first Travel Story from Egypt. Trip I recently went on early February ’15. I just launched my website as well. If you have time, please check it out. I don’t know why, but you look so much like “That Backpacker” Audrey’s husband….wait…as I wrote that I went back to her site…and her husband’s name is SAM! YOU? Well congrats if it is indeed you!!!
Thank you for your advice, I ma planing to start a blog about tourism, so I need every advice.
Thanks for this post! I’m at the extreme beginning of Stage I, but I’m motivated to become a strong round snowball one day. It’s going to be an eco-tourism blog.The hardest part for me is all of the social media. Coming up with content ideas is no problem, and soon I’ll be biking across a continent so I’ll have a lot more to write about. But the social media is just so significant in gaining more traffic.
Thanks for sharing your experience in such a clear and to the point manner. It is indeed not a picnic to start a travel blog, rocking social media and posting consistently valuable content.
Generally love your blog-keep it coming!
Thank you very much for this summarizing post. You really got to the point of it.
We have been blogging for a couple of months and your reach has stagnated for quite a while now. So we kicked our butts a couple of weeks ago and started doing the work we should have done at the beginning. SEO, spreading the word, social media etc. Admittedly, this is not our favourite part of blogging, but good content alone is just not going to make your blog more popular. And it is quite interesting to learn about how the internet works and to try to use it for your profit.
This is really great, Im still in Phase 1 the most crucial part as I understand. The only thing I need to read more about is the “build your links” section since I don’t know much about that!
Thank you so much for sharing! Super informative…encouraging but still realistic! Hoping nothing but safe travels and success in your future!
These are great tips Samuel, very useful. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for this really useful article! Just got a brilliant insight into how much work goes into this. I feel like I’m working like mad already – and yet there are so many more elements. It’s wicked to come across expert advice like this. Many Thanks!
Thanks for the article! I find myself accomplishing a lot of these things naturally! I hope that’s a good sign. Safe travels! – Brianna
I see this post is a couple of years old. That can be ages in internet time! Is link building still the name of the game? Or do people think things are starting to change?
Great article. I think I’ve come back and read this 5, 6, 7 times and there is always something I could be doing more of! Thanks for sharing, really really useful 🙂
Hi Sam, thanks for a great read. It’s helpful to get a sense for what’s worked for others and that’s kind of where I’m finding myself at this point. It’s been a little slow going in terms of creating consistent content and putting our feelers out there, but I’m hoping with some regular attention in many areas (as you mentioned, social media, guest blogging, networking with other travel bloggers, etc.) I can help my tiny seedling grow. It’s amazing to success such as yours, and it’s a big inspiration. 🙂
Enjoyed this post, now to turn my Twitter account into something other than failed attempts to speak to obscure bands.
I’m still a newbie at blogging let along travel blogging. Thank you for the advice although I did seek it out and googled the question. Passion indeed will be the driving force along with hard work. I sometimes think unrealistically and some people say that my thoughts are indeed very unrealistic and therefore at times, discourages me.
You the personal trainer of travel blogging. I love how you inspire motivation in this post. I do not know the ropes yet so far but I’ve been very interested in sharing my experiences with people and my love of Southern California. Do you have any advice on “how to get started?” What were the first things you did when you started your blog?
Keep up the great work and I hope you reach your goals and achieve your dreams!
Thanks Ron! Keep at it and you’ll be on your way to success in no time 🙂
Wonderful and inspiring post for rookies and juniors! We’ve been at our blog for 2 years and phase two can be frustrating as well. So much hard work has been put in with some success, but the passion still needs to be there. There’s always tweaking and questions over direction can be frustrating too. But indeed, everything you mentioned is key, and good point about thinking “unrealistic” about it and everything that can snowball with the passion and hard work that follows!
What a great article and example of that snowball! When I did a search for successful blogging, there you were!
You mention consistency… how often is enough? We travel practically every weekend so I publish about once a week. We just got back from a 10 day trip to Prince Edward Island and so I am doing Day 1 of 10, Day 2… etc. I’ve just started doing posts about tips and apps, etc for filler content as I’m trying to find what my readers want.
My other question is how do you get people to comment?
Thanks again for your article!
Thank you for the advice, Im a relatively new travel blogger (4 months and counting) and hope to use these tips as I go along!
I’m a little late in the comment game here but I absolutely wanted to let you know how inspiring this post was. Day in and day out, blogging is much more than a full time job – yet many people seem to assume that what you’re doing is just ‘fun and games.’ Of course, it’s my passion but with anything comes hard work. There are always those odd times where I want to give up but it is posts like yours that help inspire the little guys like me :D.
Thanks a bunch!
Give for Granted | Traveling the World, Making a Difference
Thank you so much Samuel. I found this post via Indie Traveller. This is what I needed to read. We have plateaued at the moment and we are just trying to get though this phase. Like you said, don’t give up and we won’t. You have made some awesome tips that we will definitely take on board. Thanks again.
Thanks Lesh! Keeping the passion alive, improving your craft and becoming more efficient with tasks really is the key to success in blogging 🙂
This is just what I needed. I started my travel blog in January this year and was wondering how to popularize it. Thanks for the tips 🙂 they are wonderful.
Wicked article Samuel, it’s been constantly open in my browser for the last few weeks as I’ve been starting up my travel blog. I’m so confused by so many of the technicalities, and am learning embarrassingly slowly about designing my page. For now, though, I’m just trying to hammer out content.
Thanks for the helpful article!
This was by far the most helpful blog building post I have read! Thanks so much Sam. This was kick in the ass I needed focus and get busy building. I will be on your list.
I’m glad you found it useful. Best wishes with your site!
I currently am in the first steps of creating a travel blog so found this really useful. Thanks 😀
Your blog is a rocket ship Samuel. Thanks for the great advice here!
Thanks for the inspiration – this is exactly what I needed at the moment! I’m hoping I’m getting towards the end of phase 1. It certainly is hard to keep up the sustained effort required to break through all the noise and have a successful travel blog, especially with two young kids that I feel like I ignore too often to work on something that may never go that far.
So awesome to stumble on this again and read my thoughts from a couple of years ago. I kept persisting and I got there! Thanks for inspiring me at just the right point in time 😀
thanks for the inspiration! my travel blog is about a month old now, and although it’s still all new and exciting to me, I’m hoping that it reaches to a larger audience to inspire other people. bookmarking this page!
Thanks Hannah! Best wishes with your new blog 🙂
Sam, Great info. It’s so good to hear positive and encouraging words from someone who has been there and done that. Really enjoy reading your blog. Keep it up please!
Great advice, thank you so much!! I just started my travel blog a couple of months ago and it’s pretty much become my life. Even during ‘daydream’ parts of the day I find myself thinking of ideas for new travel advice articles and videos. A lot of work, like you said, but a lot of fun, and a great sense of accomplishment when I see other travelers connect to my posts and my site!
Keep on blogging!
It sounds like you’ve got a winning attitude Joanna! Best wishes with your site 🙂
Thanks for posting this!
I definatly know I need to do more to make my blog stand out and can sometime’s feel like there’s just too many awesome travel bloggers around and I won’t stand out. But I’m determined and this is what I want to do. So I’m happy you gave some solid encouragement!
It sounds like you having the right attitude to succeed with your blog 🙂
Still in the first step, but thanks for this article. I have been really into it the past few weeks and today was one of those “what am I doing this for”? days. This post keeps me motivated.
I’m glad you found this useful. I still have those days as well, wondering why I am doing this, but not nearly as often now 🙂
Such an informative, and reassuring post. I LOVE LOVE LOVE working on my blog, and have improved the content significantly. As you say, it’s the passion to travel, take photographs, write about it and share it to help others that make it so enjoyable, and ultimately determine one’s readership. For me (and of course everyone at the beginning), it’s been a steep learning curve, not only understanding how to build a site (no, it’s not going to be prefect at the start!), but also engaging in social media, which has been my biggest challenge – to be consistent. Thanks for breaking the process into stages. However long it takes there is always light at the end of the tunnel 🙂 Cheers, Anna
“Phase 1. Step 4: Doing link exchanges, guest posting & commenting on other blogs & forums are all part of the equation” ;)! Haha why not start here. Super useful article :)! Thanks and look forward to see you in the travelblog scene! Cheers, Manouk (Bunch of Backpackers)
Thanks Manouk! I’m glad found this useful 🙂
Awesome article Nomadic Samuel, as is the rest of the site. Just spent the last couple of hours reading your ‘top 100 bloggers’ and this one, both of which have been very insightful. I’m definitely at the early stages myself, consistently writing and publishing content and building a name for myself. It was good to read an expert bloggers article as re-assurance this is the ‘normal’ approach! You always have this inkling at the back of your mind that you’re missing something key… Anyway, have bookmarked this site and will definitely be returning for more study! Cheers, Adam
Am just starting out at travel blogging, well blogging in general, and your article has just inspired me. I used to think i’ll get traffic overnight just by pushing a new content (how stupid was I). blogging is no easy task and one should def have a plan and passion to survive. will come back in a few months let you know how my blog is doing.
Thanks for the tips……these are really helpful……..
Great read Sam! I have just recently jumped into travel blogging and for me, this article was not only informative but also very motivating!
Thanks so much for posting this. I just started my blog in the summer and although my name is starting to get out there more and more, there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s a great motivator to hear a successful blogger talk about the steps needed and how to reach your goal.
Thank you for this informative post, it’s useful for sure! Every beginning is hard, matters how consistent you are, like you said. I just started my own travel blog, and I know if I want to be successful I have to work hard or work harder.
It really boils down to hard work and passion. If you love what you’re doing you won’t mind putting in excessive hours to make your dreams become a reality 🙂
Thanks for this post! It’s nice to hear some motivation from a Traveler who made it. I’ll be doing many of these things this year!
Consistent content is indeed important… but the quality, uniqueness factor too. Instead of feeding fans with tons of content, I prefer adding a bit more rarely and focus on uniqueness.
Nowadays it’s a lot easier to create a blog… pretty much everyone has one, because there are so many good CMS systems… But several years ago, maintaining a high quality blog/site was serious business.
Also: so many travel blogs out there are filled with some of the most beautiful photos… it’s not easy keeping up, if you want to launch one now!
This is the second time I have read through this post in the past 3 months. My blog is 6 months old. I quit my job, sold damn near everything, and retired to Costa Rica in June 2013. I at first treated the blog as a hobby, but now that I have seen some traction and positive feedback my business/competitive mind has started to fire up again. This post has really motivated me for 2014. Thanks.
Merry Pura Vida,
Some great information and tips in there Sam. We’ve been working hard to try and build links to our site and publish regularly, I think it takes time to gain some momentum in this game- we’ll continue working hard anyway and hopefully gain some exposure in the travel blogging world.
Thanks for sharing these blogging tips, will definitely take these on board- awesome stuff… 🙂
Great plan of action for travel blogs like mine. I started my site around 18 months ago and I have only recently started to receive visitors but my tip is that if you enjoy writing about a certain subject then everything else is easy.
I read this post when I just started blogging and it made me aware of the steps I still needed to take.
Now, one year further, I’m afraid I’m stuck at the edge of phase 1 and phase 2. I feel like I’m really standing in phase 1 with one leg and in phase 2 with the other.
Shot you an email about that.
Hello Samuel, Lemme inform you that i use your image in my blog , i put a credits on your picture. anyway thanks for your blog, i just started my new blog entitled “I Love Tansyong”A travel blog. Yes you are right its is really hard to maintain it in one year but what matters most i enjoy blogging. Keep in touch, and more power
Thanks for the clarification of phases, great advice
Recently began my hitchhiking blog, it is a bit rough to keep up to date, but having a lot of fun doing it! Thanks for the info!
Thanks Akilina! That’s a great niche to pursue.
Fabulous tips Samuel. I’m hitting the end of my first year this week and it has been an exciting and sometimes tough journey. I think the key is to persevere even when results are slow. You will get there eventually.
Thanks! It’s a big milestone to achieve one year. Many give up before then 🙂
Brilliant post Samuel,
You have given the inspiration for many travel bloggers out there to enhance their experiences.
Thank you so much for your wonderful post! It was *exactly* what I needed as I start my travel / coffee blog!
Good luck and I’m so glad your hard work is paying off for you.
This is so useful … especially after what we were talking about last night here in Chiang Mai. That’s another plank of the process right there: whenever possible, network in real life with members of the travel blogging community, as well as with entrepreneurs in other spaces. You can learn so much more face to face than what you can suss out on your own through what you find on the web.
Thanks for taking the time to post on this man, you could have made an e-boom out of this! 🙂
I agree with you. Face to face meetings are the best way to bounce ideas off of one another and learn.
You know, I bookmarked this page nearly a year ago and keep coming back for inspiration. I have managed to double my traffic per month but whenever I get impatient, I remember the advice here. Thanks for posting!
I am just new to blogging and I would like to thank you for posting these tips! I can totally do some more work on my travel blog. The pictures you have are amazing!
Thank you Scarlet! I’m really glad these tips are helpful 🙂
Thank you so much for your post, I recently started my (photography) blog, and I’m super motivated to keep it going. I gave myself one whole year to try it out. Your phases explanation helps me to realize that it, in fact, costs a lot of time before it “takes off”
thanks for all the great tips! cool blog you got there 🙂
This is great advice Samuel. I think one of the key’s to blog success is longevity – and as time has proven, you have longevity. Congratulations on sticking to it.
yes i will take in live
will take this to my info
I notice everyone mentions being “successful” and obsess about numbers, ratings, etc. Why would someone quit after 2 years? I think if someone is dedicated and loves blogging/taking photos that success will come (granted, you have to work on the social media which as I’m learning is a bit of a game..). It would be great to be popular because it’s nice having people participating and giving you feedback, but I think getting into blogging just to be popular or make money is the wrong way to go.
I had a blog for 7 years on bootsnall and always enjoyed writing and posting photos. I had crappy traffic and no comments but continued because I enjoyed spending time on it and a having a memoir of sorts. Now, with more time on my hands, I recently decided to get my own domain and take my blog to another level. But you know what? Even if I get no traffic I’ll still be blogging in 10 years, it’s just something I enjoy doing. I just think that if people get into it for the wrong reasons and continually obsess about their numbers they’ll get frustrated and discouraged – write for yourself, try to improve as you go along, and enjoy the time you spend on it. Like anything, success will eventually come from your work.
Excellently written advice on building a travel blog. I’m currently trying to get the snowball rolling, so I’m grinding and posting new material every 3 days. I think you’re right about passion – without it, you cannot succeed. After reading this post, you’ve helped me by boosting my passion a little bit. I’m excited to begin working on my next post.
Hi Samuel, thank you VERY much for taking the time to write an informative and realistic post on this subject. I’m an avid traveler but have only been blogging for 3 months and at times I wonder if maybe I’m behind. I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work but it’s something I’m passionate about. I have a question for you. I’ve recently decided to only post once a week as supposed to twice a week because I want my weekly post to be well written, with lots of research. I’m a firm believer that quality is more important than quantity. However, being a new blogger, do you see this as a disadvantage? I’ve noticed that new bloggers usually post several times per week. What are your thoughts?
Yes it is a LOT of work but I’ve found myself loving it. I used to run another business and it all felt so tedious. This time around I’m having a lot more fun doing it and everything seems to flow so naturally =). Great post!
I’ve got the passion and talent and thanks to people like you I’m gaining the inside knowledge. To travel blogging and beyond 🙂
Thank you for some great advice and motivation. I agree the key is hard work and not to give up
Somehow I came about this article and can I say, thank you! I started my blog over a year ago but it was just for fun and I didn’t post consistently as it was more for family. Then one day last month things changed and I realized I needed to follow my passion, not just travel but writing about it for others. I have a family so we can’t travel all the time – I guess we can but we choose not to. So I’ve been writing about money & travel with kids and enjoying every second. I’m still learning a lot but this was a very honest post and I really appreciate it. It’s always good to have a little inspiration!
Nice tips from you, Sam.. Yeah, I think we need a great passion to make great travel blog. We must have consistency.
Now, I’m starting to make a blog from my experience travelling around Indonesia. Indonesia have a lot of beautiful place to visit. But my blog still in Indonesian. Hope a lot of people want to visiting my blog..
You can create travel blog on dedicated platforms . It’s easier but doesn’t have such big pottential to grow.
Passion and commitment are good, but what’s the motivation? I think having a blog sponsor is a great way to give you that motivation to keep at it in the long run. There are lots of travel companies that pay you to blog; all you have to do is credit them in your posts from time to time. Great blog, by the way. Keep up the good work.
Will take all of this into consideration when building up my blog!
It has been just over a month starting my new travel blog, http://www.goanflavour.com, covering all the quirky aspects of holidaying in Goa, a beach and party destination in India. Your advice on this page was much needed.
Thank you and I hope to incorporate the same to bring out the best about Goa!
Very good work…Your blog will be helpful for all new blogger…
I like it so much…….
hotel in davenport
Thank you so much for this article!! Of the articles I’ve read about starting a travel blog, this one is the most detailed and informative about what to expect. And thanks for being realistic about how much work is involved. 🙂
Thanks for helping with the excellent advice, I started working hard with a subject about some tips for this coming out of Brazil for travel.
Excellent post. Thanks for your advice. I’ll follow your points.
Mate great article, really good advice. I realize its going to be a tough road ahead but right now I am loving blogging and everything about it. I hope for this period to drag out as long as possible but am prepared to stick with it being persistent and as active as possible whilst still on the road enjoying my travels.
Really great post! Ill definitely be following these tips. Thanks!:)
Hi Samuel. Thanks for this very informative post. We are VERY new to this community and are trying to learn everything we can to become successful travel bloggers. We have been following you and others we admire for some time now and have been inspired to start our own blog. We have been traveling for 12 months full time but only about 12 days as bloggers lol So posts like this really help get us on our way.
We have no regrets in giving up our ‘conventional’ lives for a ‘digital nomadic’ life, but its nice to hear that others have not only made it work but have become successful at it.
Thank you for being an inspiration to us and I am sure, many others.
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Great tips, Samuel.
In fact, I am employing them now! ha-ha, this comment is all part of my master plan to get a click. Will it work? Only time will tell…
Thank you for sharing this informative article. Very nice job!
Thank you so much for the inspiration, Samuel. I just decided to do this a few weeks ago as I travel a lot and want to make it a lifestyle. You are right, I have been eating, sleeping and breathing my blog. I am excited though and this gives me some direction and some hope. Thank you!
This is an excellent post Samuel. I like the way it’s written and laid out. There are a lot of good tips in here that all aspiring bloggers can learn from. I’m sure I’ll find myself returning to this post in the future for a refresh in inspiration and knowledge. Thanks for this.
This post is very simple to read and appreciate without leaving any details out. Great work!
This is a great article, and i totally agree about the passion and consistency! i’ve been reading so many great travel blogs for months (and enjoying them a lot!) and they have all something in common: they are all really personal, and sincere and passion is there, in every post they write! they are able to let me dream, to inspire me and to push me towards my own dreams!
I find these blogs amazing and i think they well deserve the success they have.
I also have my blog of course, and i will certainly try to make it grow, but the key for me is to express something i feel. If i became “popular” in the travel community i will be happy of course 🙂 but i don’t want to force anything.
You think i’m a bit naive right? 🙂 ah well! i probably am 😛
Great eye opener. I think many bloggers start off with this great bubble of ideas and passion and run into a wall when they realize they don’t get enough readers or just can’t figure things out. I know I’ve felt that way a LOT of times but Passion truly is they key, because if you live and breathe it, there’s no way you can fail.
Thank you so much for this post. I’m just starting out and I’m excited, but also scared no ones going to read it. I guess I have just got to keep working at it. I’m just glad phase one is the hardest part and that it doesn’t get any harder after this inital getting-noticed phase.
Loved this post!! Great breakdown of how to build a successful travel blog.. or just blog in general. I am just beginning to plan/plot out my own travel blog this is incredibly helpful, thanks! I am a huge fan of what you’ve built and hope to cross paths one day! Cheers- Nate Ginsburg
Just breaking into Phase 1 & and making my self know to the world this week. It’s kind of a strange experience… I have been working behind the scenes for a bit now trying to put worthwhile content together. Seeing how the world receives it is stressful but rewarding. I think my stuff is insightful and funny but what the heck do I know?
What I do know is watching Google Analytics is nearing crack in terms of addictiveness! I am not even using it for anything its just amazing the things you can see on it.
Great site keep it up!
When it comes to building a successful travel blog, there is no disputing the fact that content plays a key role. However, link building and promoting the blogs is equally important.
Very inspiring! Good luck!
Great article! As someone just starting out, this is a great reminder that I need to be dedicated to my blog and not give up. Thanks!
It must be a very exciting time for you right now 🙂 Best of luck with your site!
Phase I is killer. Filled with hopes and dreams and nail-biting anticipation – sometimes it comes pouring out in an unexpected burst of dorky creativity!
‘Twas my first week of blogging, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, except for my mouse;
I was clicking and typing as fast as I dare,
In hopes that some readers (new followers?) would care.
Saw midnight then one ‘fore I climbed into bed,
While view counts and bar charts danc’d round in my head,
My computer is hot as it rests on my lap,
Just one more draft – must… say… no.. – it’s a trap!
Thrilled by new comments, and questions, and chatter,
I wish and I hope that my words really matter.
Big fancy ideas through my mind did flash,
Pay for a domain name? I don’t have the cash!
I’m keeping it secret from people I know,
Until I have something that’s worth it to show.
But as I keep writing and posting on here,
Dear Readers, you ALL truly fill me with cheer.
Some comment slowly and some comment quick,
My eyes must deceive me, it must be a trick.
And faster than I could imagine they came,
New readers and followers who call me by name….
….. visit my site for the rest! …..
That’s very creative Jen!
I still remember when I first launched my site with feelings of excitement and anxiety.
Very constructive post. I think Phase 1 is the most difficult period of blogging. Recently i came across a question form a novice blogger, and he says that he does not enough from the blog. Some people are thinking of money when they are still in the phase 1. One needs to pass phase 1 in order to have a solid income from the blog. All in all persistence is the key to success in blogging, knowing it succeed some day keep you glued to your venture.
That’s a great point! If you’re focussed on just making money from the beginning it’s likely never going to work out for you. There would be better ways to get money than blogging.
Hi, how long it takes you to write an article? I can’t post every day or even few times a week, it takes me 1-2 days to write an article (English is not my native language), few days to correct the photos and then upload them and describe… I don’t understand how do bloggers find time to post so often and write comments and visit others blogs…?
I think it depends what kind of article I’m writing and how many words it is going to be. I find for photo essays I can write quickly but if I’m doing more descriptive storytelling and relying less on my photos it does take longer. I don’t know how some bloggers keep up with it all. They must be machines 😛
oh wow, this is a great article, Sam! Makes me realize how much of a bum I am these days. haha. I can totally see the passion in you even through this post alone. I hope I can work on my travel blog and go back to my consistent blog schedules.
My motivation has definitely experienced highs and lows along the way. I think sticking with it (even if you do need more breaks) is much better than burning out and walking away entirely 🙂
I couldn’t agree more with every single thought you shared here, Sam. When I first started my blog, there were some inspirational blogs out there that I aspired to. Unfortunately some of them have long gone from the blogosphere. So, when you mentioned passion, I completely agree with you. It’s the biggest drive for every single thing you do, not just blogging. Great article!
Thank you Bama!
I think sometimes it’s hard to keep that passion burning after months/years of slogging away. Sometimes it’s better to have a short break than to walk away entirely feeling frustrated. Best wishes as you continue on!
This post is great motivation to continue working to having a travel blog that stands out among others. I love the tortoise and hare analogy. I am definitely the tortoise. It took plenty of self motivation to push myself to continue during the first year and get my blog and myself on auto-pilot. The journey has been well worth it.
That’s great to hear Michaela! I think I’ve at times pushed too hard and I’ve burnt myself out. Sometimes it’s paramount to remember why you started your blog in the first place 🙂
Thanks for this, it’s definitely helpful. I’m still at stage one, but you’re right, it’s all about passion.
This is an awesome post and one of my “go to” articles when my wife and I need inspiration. We’ve been diligently working on out blog for 30 days straight and we already have a couple of guest posts, and some quality link backs. I like the analogy about an athlete training for an event. I completely agree that passion is the key to success! It worked for me in the sales world and i know it will work for us in the blogging world.
It sounds like you are on the right path Kenin! I honestly just think sticking with it and refining your approach and strategy is what it takes to really grow your site.
Me and my husband have just started our blog two weeks ago about travelling as full time workers with just 25 days off a year. We’re totally at the stage where we’re thinking who’s going to read this?! But the bottom line is that we both love doing this and it’s already enriched our lives! I don’t know where we’ll be in a years time but like you say we’re dreaming big!
Thanks for sharing this encouraging post and love your blog too!
” But the bottom line is that we both love doing this and it’s already enriched our lives!”
It sounds like you are doing this for the right reasons! Blogging wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t really enjoy the process.
I’m about seven months in to my blogging experience and I’d have to say it’s going pretty well. I’ve put in the hard yards and now I’m seeing consistent traffic returns. However, I feel I’ve sort of reached a plateau just before level two and I’m thinking it might be because I refuse to go guestposts. I’m a journalist by profession so I find it difficult to just give my work away for free. (Great post by the way!)
That’s great you’ve grown your site as fast as you have! Yeah, sometimes it can feel as though guest posts are a waste of time, but to be honest, the new eyeballs it brings to your site and links you build make it worthwhile in my opinion.
Great Post! There are so many posts, tutorials, newsletters and lists out there about all the things you should be doing to build your travel blog, but I love how you’ve made this a realistic one with stages. It’s such an organised approach, and a real confidence booster, knowing you only need to look at the next milestone, and then the next and so on. However it really is a case of chicken and the egg, for example, google’s been much kinder to us than we imagined, and I do believe a lot of it has to do with SEO, and Tags. You might think it won’t make a difference in the early stages, but it does. As for social media, that’s where we do seem to be falling behind. Still trying to figure that one out. But on the whole, thanks for a great read this Tuesday morning, Nomadic Samuel!
I think it’s hard to strike the right balance. I’m often falling behind on social media as well. I think being consistent and trying to improve in areas which you consider as weaknesses will help in the long haul.
Thank you so much for this Sam! Great guide on what blogging is all about!
You’re welcome DJ! Thanks for checking it out 🙂
Great post! I just start blogging in May so only in the first phase, but had been researching for a good 6 months before I even decided to launch. I have to keep reminding myself that even though I may not have a huge following yet, to keep on writing and to stay consistent and remain motivated. I’m having fun with it! The best part of it is connecting with new readers and the travel blogging community. Knowing that other bloggers are going through the same thing is reassuring.
Thanks for reminding us newbies to keep on truckin’!
-Parm (Desi Globetrotter)
I think in some ways when you first start it is the most exciting time because you really appreciate all of the new readers and discovering there is such a large travel blogging community is quite exciting. Best wishes and keep truckin’ along! 🙂
Great post, Sam. We’ve just gotten into the game this year and know that we have a long way to go. As you mentioned, it’s all about passion and a positive attitude. At the end of the day, I love sitting down and creating content for our site and I’ll do it regardless of where we are on the “success barometer”. I think it takes that commitment to stay with it through the times when you’re doubting whether or not anyone will be reading.
Best of luck to you!
That’s great you got started! I agree with you completely – it’s more about the process of creating than it is about anything else.
I noticed a significant increase in my blog traffic when I started blogging on a regular basis, at least 3 times per week, and again when I started responding to comments on my blog as much as possible. I think if readers see you responding to comments they are more likely to leave a comment themselves and then since they feel like they are part of the community they come back. Building community and interacting with your audience is key. Excellent post Samuel.
I agree with you about building an audience and interacting well with them is an important component for having a successful blog. I’ve noticed others take it a step further are really interact well on social media (such as twitter and facebook) and that’s something I really need to improve on myself.
Great post Samuel! Absolutely loved it!
However what is more interesting to see is the amount of discussion that has gone into this post by the form of comments! I hope I can build this interaction from my readers one day.
Currently its been 8 months since I started blogging but almost for 6-7 months I was just posting content and not much of any outward activity. It was a conscious decision. Travelling and then blogging simultaneously was quite a bit of an effort as I realized quite early.
It is only recently ( now that am on a short breaks from my travels )that I have started interacting with other bloggers, making efforts to be active on social media and trying to learn the ways of the blogging world. Its very interesting!
Highly charged up to make it better
It sounds like you’re partaking in an incredible journey – backpacking India via motorcycle would be incredible. I think that you’ll find the community quite supportive as you continue to build relationships. Best wishes with your blog and travels 🙂
Thanks Samuel and a great article. I am about to finish my first year of wildlife travel blogging and have some how reached the getting your name out and link’s phase. Still lots more to go and loving every bit of it. Thanks for your tips 🙂
That’s awesome you have such a good attitude. Loving what you do is crucial in my opinion. Best wishes with it!
Congratulations Sam! Given the superior talent you are, I am very sure that you’ll be right at the very top not too far in the future. You have already accomplished a lot in a very short space of time. As for me, I’m now venturing on other projects after nearly 2 years blogging on and off. Here’s for your anniversary! All the best!
I enjoyed checking out your new site. Can’t wait to get on another Air Asia flight soon 🙂
Great Article! I am getting ready to launch my site! Travel is my passion; addiction and like you I can not afford to fail! Thanks for the advice and info!
Thanks Stephen! Let me know about your site when it launches 🙂
Awesome post… it really puts it in perspective and breaks it down to see what’s involved in making a successful blog.
I wonder what everyone’s thoughts are when they reach that point where they are no longer traveling full time. I’m still in the midst of my RTW trip but I know it won’t last forever. Even if you have an unlimited amount of money to stay on the road, eventually you’ll want to settle into a place, at least for a while. For me, travel will be a life long venture however, it won’t always be an everyday occurrence like it is right now…
So, where do you take the blog when you’ve reached that point? How do you fill the in the breaks?
I’ve been teaching overseas for close to a year now without much movement aside from domestic travel. I’ve been finding myself drawing upon previous trips I’ve taken over the past seven years. I think it’s a lot easier when you’re on the road full-time but it can be done in one place.
Great advice! There are a lot of great blog sites out there! How do you get advertiser to want to advertise on your site? Do travel bloggers get sponsorship from companies to help fund their travels? If so, how do you go about doing this?
At a certain point in your blog’s maturity advertisers will start naturally contacting you. Also, many bloggers share contacts with one another. At that point in time it’s up to you whether or not you’d like to pursue advertising as an option on your site. There are examples of successful sites that have ventured down different paths. As far as major sponsorships are concerned, it’s most likely a blog would be approached about this kind of partnership at select conferences.
Hi Samuel! Thank you so much for this article! I have just found the wonderful world of blogging, after years of writing down my adventures old school style with pen and paper. I am absolutely Amazed at all of the incredible Travel Blogs out there and hope mine can be as great as yours someday! 😀
I enjoyed reading your post on Sukhothai 🙂 It looks like you are well on your way – best wishes with your blog and travels!
Great insights!! I’ve just been bumbling along with my humble blog for a few months and don’t think I’ll ever achieve your great heights or beyond! Still, at least my Mum enjoys reading it 🙂 But I do have a huge passion for travel and sharing my experiences so I’ll probably just simmer along. Thanks for visiting my site.
Thanks Olivia, it’s always nice when Mum enjoys reading it 🙂 Best wishes with your site and travels.
this is a wonderful post and very informative, i have just started my own blog so desperately seeking ways to get some traction (and traffic), I was just wondering what the etiquette is when blogging or communicating with other bloggers? Should we post our URL in the blog? Or is simply logging in and using your website enough? Cheers Belle
As far as making comments are concerned, you just need to post your Name, email address and website in the fill-in boxes.
Hi Sam, thanks for getting back to me! In terms of getting traffic to your website, is it simply enough to constantly post on travel bloggers websites or should I look at other tactics like buying traffic? Also, how do you have any tips on how one could become a guest blogger??!!?! Belle 🙂
Belle, I would suggest doing guest posts for exposure. Comments on other sites are more to support what the author of that site is doing. You may get some traffic from it every once in a while but it’s quite insignificant.
Great post Samuel! You’ve done a great job at achieving success with your travel blog! Keep up the good work. 🙂
Thanks Cheryl! So have you – best wishes the rest of this year with regards to travels & blogging.
You’re my Guru Samuel. After years of technical writing (aka consulting), I’m about to leap into travel blogging and am sure it will be like freefalling…. Your tips are ssure to prevent me from getting tangled up and plummeting to earth. One question though (very basic, I am afraid). What is your view on choosing a blog name that will stand out amongst the many clever names out there? My passion is sustainable/responsible tourism and that’s what I will be writing about – but ‘responsibletraveller’ is a but mundane. Thanks for sharing Samuel.
When it comes to choosing a name I would suggest looking at both creative and functional combinations. Obviously, as you stated, the more creative it is, the more you stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, having search engine friendly keywords that match up well with the overall theme of your blog can be good for traffic. If you can blend the two elements you have it made!
Nice article, Samuel.
We have just started our travel blog for 2 months since Jun this year..still very much in phase 1..will keep on working on it 🙂
Cheers and thanks for encouraging newbies like us! 🙂
Congrats on the new blog Tommy!
Just keep working hard on it and you’ll start to notice results soon 🙂
Thanks Samuel for the encouragement!
Great advice, Samuel. I think I’ve got the eat, sleep, and breathe part down. Now I just need to stick with it and watch the snowball (hopefully!) take traction.
Thanks Gina! If you’re doing the esb part you’re well on your way 🙂
haha! – that is an ADORABLE picture up there! Love it =)
Back to the article: you’re certainly right on all fronts. I guess people just get burned out and are not passionate enough–which is why most blogs don’t make it big. You need ALL ingredients you listed in order to be successful. Even if you are missing just one, you will not make it big nor make decent money off your blog. End of story!
Thanks for reminding me that I have to keep working hard no matter what. Right now it’s been really hard to continue, with my carpal tunnel condition and all, but I will make it anyway. I will keep pushing. I will find ways with my voice recognition software and make it one day.
Thanks for the push, it has been a particularly hard week for me…
I think we all have difficult weeks where blogging seems like a struggle. I’m glad this article was useful for you. I think you’ve got a great attitude and I know you’ve been working hard on all your blogging projects. If you just keep at it you’ll be reaching your goals in no time 🙂
I’ve been travel blogging for almost 3 years. I wish I knew this back then, it would help me a lot knowing these things back then. Some of these I’ve just latched on recently. But it’s never too late I guess 🙂 especially since we have a specific niche for our blog. We’re not backing out just yet, and we’re wearing a headband to continue. Headband you say? Yes, we’re that serious LOL.
I love how your site is dedicated to Indonesia. I think that if you stick with it you’ll achieve great success.
A fabulous article thankyou. It certainly sets out the goal posts clearly and helps those of us that are lurking under the radar to know what to do. Sometimes life gets in the way and I for one don’t want to miss out on anything, so blogging gets put on the back burner…again, but it’s all good fun so long as you are happy with what you’re doing!
I agree with what you are saying. Life is more important than blogging. Sometimes it’s great to disconnect and go offline or put down the camera and just enjoy a peaceful moment being present.
Thanks for this post, that I discovered thanks to knowing now how to handle these Twitter hashtags. It’s not only participating in social media, but having all the necessary know how.
I’m a phase 1 blog, hopefully going to phase 2 soon. 🙂
Thanks Charles! Best of wishes getting to phase 2 🙂
I like the article, thanks for sharing. Do you think writing/blogging on a schedule is more important than writing when you have something ready to say? I get the need about being consistent, but I would rather wait than put something up that wasn’t good.
That photo on top depresses me. Put away the electronics and go look around! HA!
Don’t worry – the shot at the top was just a quick pose 😛 In my opinion, you do have to force yourself to write sometimes in the way you might force yourself to do training or studying in another subject when you don’t feel like it.
I can’t say much about the final two stages, but hopefully I’ll be able to soon. As for the first stage, you’re 100% right. It takes a TON of effort, especially with social media, which unfortunately, it turns out I kind of hate. I know I need to do more of it, but so far I’ve been sticking mostly to blog commenting, which I kind of enjoy, mainly because it gives me an excuse to waste time reading blogs.
Great picture too, by the way. I love the contrast–did you purposely wear those shirts?
Social media isn’t my favourite part of the blogging equation either! Hahaha…I actually borrowed that shirt because all of mine were dirty and desperate need of a wash.
Great read. I’m going to have to write a post and get real with myself that I don’t really know what I want for my blog and that I’m likely not going to do what it takes to get it in front of a larger audience. The grunt work of link building and social media just doesn’t interest me. But as you say, its the dues you need to pay to succeed in anything.
I’m content enjoying my travel experiences in the moment, capturing it for myself and sharing it. Its the same rationalisation I use for photo-taking. I feel to able to capture happiness, you need to be outside of it. The photo of you taking care of business whilst at the backdrop of Machu Picchu (glorious day I might add) is brilliant in that it encapsulates the dedication you need to have to focus on the bigger picture. Its really about finding the balance, doing two things at once – working hard and playing hard.
I agree with you about the work-play balance. Lately, that’s been shifted far too much towards the work side for me. Also, I agree with you that the social media and link building is certainly grunt work – not the most fun aspect to say the least.
Fabulous post, Samuel! Thank you for sharing with us your experience. I am currently in phase 1, but I’m working hard to go further. Congratulations to you for having such a great website!
You’re doing a great job with your site. It has such a colourful design. Keep at it and I hope you’ll get to phase II very soon 🙂
Fab article! I am heading towards my one year blogiversary and have loads of passion for writing and photography. I try not to put too much pressure on myself and try to label blogging as a hobbie with perks, such as sponsored travel. Do I envisage ever being able to make a full-time income from blogging? No, I wouldn’t even know where to start. I admire people, like yourself, who manage to do this.
I think that’s a great approach Alison. Not only will it allow you to receive perks but it will chronicle your adventures and when years pass you’ll be able to look back on it fondly.
Good article, something I have been looking for. Concise and to the point. Great job with the blog itself.
Keep it up, Samuel. I will do my best to reach the stage II for the beginning.
Best wishes reaching stage II Alexey! I just checked out your site and you’ve certainly got some great photos posted on there.
I think you have done a great job of this blog and congratulations to you. I also think that producing content of your journeys and posting regularly is the key. Producing content in such a way that readers are captivated and come back for more is going to be important. Also social media is mega important to get attention.
That’s a very solid point Shalu. If you wait too long to post you may lose readers who have simply forgot about your site 🙂
BTW, love your colourful site and since India is one of my favourite destinations for travel I’ll be checking in often 🙂
Thank you Nomadic Samuel! I have bookmarked this post so I can refer back to it. My blog has been up and running since April 17, 2012. I am just starting to see some traffic when I had not been especially engaged to create it. I still have a long way to go. But, the one thing I am really happy about is engaged readers, who comment a lot. I have an average of 4 comments to a post. This is the main thing that “rocks” for me.
That’s great to hear your blog is already gaining a loyal following. I just checked it out myself and enjoyed learning about “Fika” I must admit I haven’t been having enough Fika’s since I started blogging 😛
Words of wisdom right here! It’s a whole lot of work, but the work pays off.
It sure does Matthew! You’re a good example of that – keep it up mate!
Thank you for sharing your insight! My travel blog, http://familytravelsonabudget.blogspot.com, launched four months ago and traffic is steadily growing. I am already using most of your suggestions, but I will hone my approach to improve content, maximize networking opportunities and make a bigger splash! Thanks for this roadmap for travel bloggers! (Though any smart blogger would benefit from these suggestions.)
There are areas I’d like to improve in as well. It’s hard to juggle all of the responsibilities of really growing your blog. It’s great to hear your blog is doing well though!
I just want to say THANKS AGAIN! I get frequent inquiries about guest posts at my blog. When I first started, I was thankful for any input, but I quickly realized that some businesses were using my little site to gain free advertising. This past week, I rejected three guest posts. I evaluated them based on content (does it parallel my goals), quality (is it written in the manner my readers have grown accustomed to — style, structure, etc) and would it offer good backlinks to my site. Those three didn’t measure up. Tomorrow’s guest post does.
Now, off to plan more travels and travel inspired writing!
That’s great to hear! It’s most definitely not a good idea to allow SEO companies to guest post on your site without some form of compensation. Personally, I only allow other bloggers to do that on my site when it’s open for that.
This is excellent, really reminds me of the things I should be doing more of, but also the comments remind me that it is not just about number of readers, but quality of writing. Some days I post less than wonderful stuff just because I think I should post something, but I am never happy afterwards. Back to the passion…
I’m also guilty of posting sometimes without feeling it’s ‘high quality’ material. I think though that blogging is a process of trying to refine your writing over time and you can get away with a few duds from time to time.
Excellent post, could not agree more!
Thanks Jonny 🙂
one important thing that we all tend to forget about in blogging is quality blogging. Many times do I see many bloggers, both successful bloggers and fresh bloggers, get lazy with their writing. We tend to overlook quality in favour of quantity – which I think is a sad thing. Another thing that also is worth mentioning is why do we want to blog in the first place – do we just want to spread the word and inspire or do we want to make a quick buck? I think once we answer that all-important question then that;s in my opinion the true start of the snowball
That’s a great point Brendan. I think any blogger – who takes it seriously – should spend a certain amount of time honing their craft – whether it be polishing their writing skills, perfecting photography or video, or just finding their voice. It’s never a good thing to put things in cruise control or – even worse – just let it slide completely.
Amazing post and so true!! I am a month old travel writing and this is what I try to do, engage, meet travel bloggers who already know what they do and learn from everyone and everywhere. Glad to find you around.
I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog tourismwithme.com.
Take care! I will keep reading you.
Thanks! I’m happy to discover your site as well. The bubble tea post made me hungry 🙂
A wonderful post and so inspiring to read after my first week of travel blogging.
Thank you for sharing!
Your first week? How exciting! Best wishes with your site as you continue your blogging and travel journey.
Thanks for the article Samuel. I am eight months into my third attempt to start my Pretraveller Blog. The first two times I posted weekly for a couple of months before giving it in because I was depressed that no-one was reading what I had written. Funnily enough, the motivation to get started again last Christmas was that I logged on and could see that some people HAD been reading a couple of my articles.
I got started again and since there I am proud that I have consistently posted a new article every week, and I have also been a lot more active in social media. I have also been learning more about how to better write my articles to get people to read them, and the learning and effort is starting to pay of with more traffic, but it still feels like a slog sometimes.
Thanks for giving me a better picture of the path I have ahead of me – obviously I am still in Phase 1 but I now have a clear goal to reach Phase 2 (I will set my Phase 3 goal after I get to Phase 2!!)
That’s great to hear you’ve rekindled your passion for starting your blog. Maybe that period of inactivity, followed by the realization that people were reading was the best thing that could have happened. Best of luck reaching all of the phases 🙂
Great post. Perseverance.
I think building the social network is the hardest when you’re on the road or just moved to a new country. It entails a lot of time to connect and it’ll compete with your blogging and sightseeing time. I think top bloggers are awesome the way they can juggle it all.
Christine, isn’t that the truth! I haven’t figured out how to juggle it all as of yet.
Was happy to come across this, as my blog has been up for less than two months and sometimes the numbers can be discouraging. I’ll have a great day followed by a not-so-great day, and it’s important to remember that it takes a while and not get discouraged! 🙂
It can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster from time to time. I have days where I wish I had never started blogging in the first place and I relish the free time I had before I got into this more seriously; however, I think all in all, it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made.
From what I have observed as a relatively newbie blogger, to become a successful travel blogger, passion for travel is not enough. You have to also have passion for writing (photographing), reading and sharing. You need to be disciplined about your blog, but you have to love it because chances are that for quite a while (and maybe forever), you will also have a day job(s), so you’ll be having to tend to your blog when you’re tired. If it’s worth it to you, you will ——–Write On!!
Couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been blogging my first year while juggling a full-time job. I come home tired from teaching kids and then I spend hours on end trying to create content for my sites along with everything else that needs to get done. It’s anything but easy.
Great stuff Samuel….I’ve used that snowball analogy myself. Here’s to hoping our snowball keeps barreling down that mountain!
Thanks for this post Sam. Glad to see you pointed out the necessity of passion. It may keep us up way past our bed time and occupy our lunch breaks, but I agree, it is the key to growing and enjoying a blog. Cheers, Nic
Hey Nic, glad to hear I’m not the only one taking a short lunch and staying up past my my bed time. It certainly does require that level of dedication.
Thanks Samuel for this detailed insights – i totally agree with your points, especially the first phase is the most important one.
And hell yeah: it’s all about the passion! Whatever people around like to tell you about the things you like to do – just go out and do it 😉
Definitely agree with you Steve! If you’re passionate about something just go out there are pursue it to the best of your ability. Nothing would be worse than to reflect upon your situation years later wondering why you never gave it a proper shot.
Great insight, Sam! You’re right — passion is key, ’cause blogging can definitely get exhausting and discouraging!
Thanks Ellen, it sure can be! How have you dealt with it during those intense times?
I just started my blog a few weeeks ago because I want to share my story, inspire others to travel, and let them know the money and other limitations don’t need to keep you from your dream. I hope that some day my blog can sustain full time travel but it is true what Sam has said… you can have great content but if no one ever sees it then what are you doing it for.
Hey Kyle, it sounds like you have the right attitude. Even if people don’t see your content in the initial stages, as long as you keep going and focus on doing quality work it will pay off for you over time.
Wow Nomadic Sam, great post. Especially useful for me being in my first year of blogging. It is, as you pointed out, a very different experience in each phase. My first three months were a huge learning experience, with ALOT of frustrations. With me its easy to be persistent due to my passion for travel. Would be interested in your thoughts on how much you should post with the first 6 months, of blogging, and the 6 months after. Thanks for the great post 🙂
The first three months can be very frustrating because aside from just posting you’re likely grasping with learning seo, social media and how to do things on your site (how to use wordpress, etc).
Honestly, how much you post is more of a personal thing. I know some sites that don’t post very often but tend to offer really high quality posts every time they press the publish button. On the other hand, some sites post daily and offer things such as a photo of the day (or week) along with travel videos. I’m personally trying to use something of a hybrid between these two systems – offering easy to consume daily content and trying to make roughly 8-10 pillar posts (lengthier articles) each month.
Really great & helpful arcticle, Thank you Samuel. I’m in the first stage and started my blog just some weeks ago. At the moment it is still everything in German, but my next stage will be to start “bilingual”. I hope it will work. 🙂 All the best
Anita, it sounds like a great project! I wish I was able to write a blog alternating between two languages. That’s an impressive talent you have.
Really you’re experienced. I want to do it but i had no courage and passion at all. After read your this great article, i seem it may possible. So, thanks for your excellent tips for move ahead.
Glad to hear that Pedro! Best wishes with everything.
Hey Samuel, this is an excellent article. Really well written and very informative. I totally agree, success is predicated upon hard work and dedication in all endeavors. Speaking of which, I am totally stepping up this year. No more crapping out. It’s time The Runaway Guide rises the ranks and adds a little friendly competition for the blogging wonder boy behind Nomadic Samuel 🙂 Are you guys playing battle ship at Machu Pichu?
I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ll be doing in the next few months. You’ve got what it takes to make it!
The truth is that we were staying in a dodgy room and we ended up taking our laptops with us because we didn’t trust leaving them there. It’s totally a posed photo. We tried to spend most of our time actually taking in MP…haha
Sam, this is wonderful. Thanks for sharing. As a newbie to travel blogging, I find your honesty, approachability and generosity akin to listening to senior leaders at work share their stories of success. You’re right — it would be easy to throw in the towel and think that’s there’s no space for me or any other newbie in a saturated market, but there is. I’m here; we’re here; we’re all passionate about traveling and whether we make it big like you and the sites that you mention, it’s an endeavor worth pursuing.
I’m having a blast, but always appreciate bursts of inspiration like you provided me today. Thanks again for sharing. I’m thrilled to be one of your followers.
I agree with what you are saying. Regardless of whether your site attracts a huge following or not it’s the process of enjoying travel and sharing your experiences with others that matters the most.
Also, I’ve really appreciated the help I’ve received from some other travel bloggers – who I consider mentors – and anything I can pass along to others who are just starting out is something I enjoy doing.
Awesome post and I couldn’t agree more, passion is the key!
Thanks Andi! You certainly have ‘that’ with your site 🙂
Great job, Sam! Phased well. I totally agree with you on “passion”. It’s all about passion!
And I love the photo- is the any Wi-Fi in a range at Machu Picchu?
You gotta have the passion! 🙂
You’ve covered all the key things – passion, consistency and hard work – then it’s repeat it all until the results come in. I think you have to also decide why you want to continue after a while as the hard work can burn you out after a while – that’s when most bloggers start to monetise to see some financial reward too
Heather, you bring up a really good point regarding burnout. I’ve personally felt this a few times and it’s a real struggle to do any kind of meaningful work during this period. I think it’s nice to step away every once in a while – whether it be a week off or even just a weekend – to recharge and feel fresh again.
Such a great post ! Thanks for sharing, Samuel. I could learn something from here 🙂
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Great post – thanks! I’ve just started a new eco/responsible travel blog http://www.goodtrippers.co.uk only a month ago so good to get a handle on where in the ‘cycle’ I am and that there’s a long way to go to establish traction… But yes, never expected anything less than hard work and perseverance to get anywhere!
I had a peak at your new blog. It looks like you have a really good site with a powerful message behind it. Best wishes with it!
These are great tips Samuel, thanks for sharing.
Happy to get refuted, but I think the internet is still behind books when it comes to travel writing.
I’m not referring to your site here, your photos and videos are great otherwise viewers wouldn’t re-visit, but I do think it’s a shame that so many travel blogs put marketing in front of narrative, pushing out flimsy articles that get recognised by the search engines such as, ‘How to Travel the World Free’ instead of just writing something simple and beautiful. It feels like people want to be celebrity bloggers before they want to be great writers. It sad that, when there are so many popular travel blogs, I still have to dig into old books by Paul Theroux and Jan Morris in order to find prose that makes me want to sing.
I totally agree with Ailsa here. Too many travel blogs are just vanilla. No story behind them or to follow, and hence why they don’t make it into my reader. I think the word ‘successful’ is quite subjective. If you are solely looking for ways to increase traffic then Samuel your points are definitely all valid. For us though, a successful travel blog is a story, quality writing and interaction with readers. These are the sites that I keep coming back to, always wanting to find out what is next.
Do you have any sites to recommend? Apart from Hecktic travels, of course!
You both bring up some really good points. Ultimately it’s your content and how you connect with our readers that is going to determine the success of your site from the perspective of having a loyal audience. Some sites are geared only towards search engine traffic. I have a feeling in the future companies will be more keen to work with those who clearly have a passionate following.
Great points @Pete and @Ailsa. I agree with many travel sites being vanilla, that being said there’s a reason why vanilla is such an enduring flavor. Lots of people eat it up. More power to them.
The same way there are many ways to travel, there are several ways to blog. I definitely feel there could be more niche perspectives represented in the upper echelon of bloggers. Outside of photography, travel and history I rarely get a sense of the writers’ other interests or philosophy. The great thing about travel blogging is that unlike most pursuits the reward comes before the hard work. To have something interesting to write, you need to have lived through an interesting experience. The capturing and sharing is merely a byproduct but also a great incentive to continue the loop. If all else fails in the blogging, the moment was still had and that’s where my focus is.
I agree that ‘successful’ is quite subjective: I see a lot of blogs that have huge numbers on their social media profiles but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have actual following – or at least this following is not proportional to those numbers. If you follow 1000 people on twitter, for example, it’s quite likely that about 500 will follow you back. But how many of those 500 will actually read your blog? Unfortunately travel brands care about numbers (it’s business at the end of the day) but the truth is that there are “small” blogs out there with less “numbers” and actual engaged following, people reading, commenting, etc.. It’s not all just black or white.. there is a lot of “in the middle”.
I agree with you Zara. Some of my favourite blogs have a small but very loyal following. I think it’s important to distinguish between blogs that are trying to turn things into a business as opposed to those doing it as a hobby.
Thaks Sam! It’s always great to get words of encouragement from people who are doing well. Bridges and Balloons is very new and I have no intention of giving up. Like you say, it comes down to one thing : passion for writing and travel.
It sounds like you have the right attitude and passion to make it work for you Victoria! That’s awesome 🙂
It is a constant grind uphill. Just when you think you are reaching the peak you turn a blind corner and boom, another hill.
Wouldn’t be here without dedication though.
I hear you! It’s one mountain after another.
I think there is a lot to be said for the advice ‘Find something that you love doing and do it well’. You HAVE to enjoy blogging or your blog will just end up abandoned. Great post.
Absolutely! Without passion and without enjoying the process of writing, taking photos and/or making videos it just would not be much fun at all and hardly worth the effort.
Keen insight here, Sam. We started really focusing on ours last N0vember, and though we’re in a pretty good place we’re nowhere near where we ultimately want to be. Takes a lot patience, persistence, dedication and hard work to build a successful business.
It sure does Bret! I’ve noticed how hard you’ve been working on your site and if you keep with it you’ll no doubt reach the third phase – likely sooner rather than later 🙂
I have been Travel Blogging for almost 3 years now and still feel there is a long long way to go. Passion is definitely the key to success as is hours and hours of hard work. A great read Samuel 🙂
Indeed Arti! It really is a lot of hours and if you’re not passionate about it you can forget about achieving any results.
Indeed Sam! Nothing beats hard work. This was a wonderful read indeed 🙂
It’s all about the passion! You have to love it, otherwise it’s going to be a heck of a slog 😀
Oh man, no doubt! The amount of hours one has to put in before things start to take off is enough to make most quit.
And most do quit! I think that is why you are so successful because you started with the idea that failure wasn’t an option! I absolutely love your blog and your photos! Your photos alone can get you a huge following just on facebook.
Do you have a facebook page just for your travel pics?
Nice article, Sam – you’re right about consistently posting content and the stage one stuff for sure. I started out expecting to just get readers overnight as I didn’t have a clue what entailed building a blog and gave up for a while. Since January, I’ve been posting consistently, engaging more on social media, link building, guest posting, contact building, and you know what? People are reading my blog and traffic is going up more and more. I still don’t know if I’m at level 2 (maybe somewhere between the first two levels), but feel like I’m getting there.
Gotta keep on working, working, working…it ain’t easy being a blogger! By the way, someone should totally post a song called that, but sadly my rap skills are sub-par at best, like Nicki Minaj.
Hey Tom, I’ve noticed how active you’ve been lately and it’s certainly going to lead to some exciting things for you in the future. I totally agree with you! It ain’t easy being a blogger…haha
I like the joke Tom, but really you think Nicki Minaj is a weak MC? I understand she’s not for everyone but I at least figure there are easier targets.
This is so very helpful. We’re at the very beginning of stage one, but we’re putting in long hours and lots of hard work, and it’s nice to have a breakdown of the steps from someone who’s been there. Thanks!
Hey Sam!! Thanks for some great ideas!! Im currently created a Goal board for my blog and this gave me some great ideas and clarity. Keep up the great work!!
As Britney said, you better work bitch. hahaha! I am currently in the snowball stage and hopefully I will be able to post content as often as I brush my teeth… now that’s a good and easy to remember tip, don’t you think? 🙂