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Being a new travel blogger can be incredibly daunting! At first, you read a few travel blogs and think to yourself….’I’ve got great ideas. I can do this too!’ Then, you write a few posts and don’t understand why nobody is reading them. You begin to think that it is not just documenting what you’ve seen, where you’ve stayed, and what you’ve eaten. You realize that there is so much more to do than simply write posts and you enter the overwhelmed new travel blogger stage.
The Overwhelmed New Travel Blogger Stage
The overwhelmed new travel blogger stage is the make or break point where you either give up or you start to educate yourself on the many other facets of becoming a successful travel blogger. To be a successful travel blogger, you need to do marketing and social media to make your presence as a new travel blogger known.
Plus, you need professional-looking graphics and custom image sizes. You must find the time to build a support network to grow your blog. And the list goes on and on!
Being a part-time blogger is even harder because time is limited each day. That time limit coupled with the nagging statistic that well over 50% of new blogs fail is enough to make anyone feel defeated. But, the beginning is the hardest part.
Pushing Through The Hard Part
When I started blogging and got to the overwhelmed stage, I wanted to give up. But luckily, a self-made successful travel blogger told me early on that you need to put in A LOT of demanding work and persevere to make your blog successful. I realized that I was not doing anything wrong, I had to just keep going! So, I’ve stuck with it and it has become much easier.
After being a part-time blogger for over 2 years, I’ve learned a few lessons the hard way. Over the past year, I’ve grown my social media presence by an average of 200% per channel and I’ve grown my site visitors by just under 40%. Without further ado, here are my top ten do’s and don’ts for new travel bloggers!
1) Be a Selective Groupie
One of the easiest ways to build a support network for your fledgling blog is to join Facebook Groups. When I first started, I joined groups that were too broad and that just overwhelmed me more!
There are TONS of groups out there, so don’t just pick the first one that shows up as a suggestion. Do your homework and find Facebook blog groups that are super relevant to the topics you write about.
More specifically, you need to take some time and seek out:
- Highly relevant groups: Stay away from general groups and traps that are focused on follows. I’ve wasted a lot of time that way.
- Groups that are not a time suck: Evaluate groups carefully. A lot of groups out there enforce you to reciprocate all. That can get tedious if you have 50 or so participants per thread.
- Groups that are small, but mighty. Bigger isn’t always better! I’ve found smaller groups with more frequent, predictable sharing opportunities to be the easiest to participate in.
Two micro niche groups that I love are Travel Bloggers with Day Jobs and Instagram Gal Pals. These are small, but mighty tight caring communities that offer a range of optional opportunities and low pressure.
Looking for more newbie blogging tips? Check out our Pinterest Board for hand-selected articles and best practices!
2) Don’t Be Too Classy
Don’t be too quick to pay for classes. It may sound easy to fork over some money for the promise of a quick start, but “there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Will it save a little bit of time? Yeah, maybe. But, I am sure even if you tell yourself you’re only blogging for fun, the little voice in the back of your head is hoping to turn a profit and you don’t want to start off in the red.
Be wary and cautious of buying a bag of magic beans. Anything and everything you might want to know from SEO for dummies to advanced Tailwind for Pinterest can be found on YouTube or in an article somewhere. There are also a lot of terrific blogging books that can help you get up to speed quickly.
That said, I recently purchased the Create & Go Make Money Blogging course after two years of blogging. Many say they wish they took this course when they were just starting out, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Even though this is called a “beginner” class on how to monetize a blog, I am still overwhelmed by all the things to know and avenues you can take to turn a profit! I am breaking it up into pieces and going back to the lessons as I decide to plunge into unfamiliar territory.
There are three reasons I chose this class:
- Students have access to the content and all updates to the course content for life (and as a part-time blogger, I go through the content slow as a turtle!)
- The content is very comprehensive. It covers: Google AdSense, Pinterest, Affiliate Marketing, Email Marketing, Sponsored Posts, and more! Plus, there are freebies and supplemental resources that you can go to for extra help.
- The cost was under $200, which was lower than most other courses I have considered.
3) Smart Spending
I’ll say it again! You DO NOT have to spend a fortune on fancy tools to grow your travel blog and social media presence. You will hear how important an email list is to your blog livelihood, so you may be persuaded to buy a fancy email service. However, just like everything else with blogging, your email list will develop slowly.
Tailwind has an amazing plan that helps you with social media scheduling, creative, hashtag research AND allows you to send email from the platform. It has user-friendly templates so that your messages will look professional and produce results. Tailwind also offers advice on messaging and marketing too! Use our link to try it out for a month!
MailChimp is one of the top free email providers that is very user-friendly for newbies. It also has an app so you can access it wherever you are. Once you hit 2,000 subscribers, you must convert to a paid subscription.
4) Be A Cheapskate
There are countless articles out there that will point you to free tools. A few of my favorites are:
Canva for creating professional-looking graphics. There is a PAID version as well that you can try for free. While I do find the paid version worthwhile for the advanced features and the ability to organize my graphics into folders, you can still build quality graphics with the free tool alone.
Hootsuite for scheduling posts to Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and/pr Instagram. You can manage up to 3 social media profiles and schedule up to 30 messages in advance with the free plan.
Snapseed app for touching up your photos in a jiffy. This tool also has a guide so that you can learn the best way to use all the features it has to offer.
5) Develop Super Powers
The BEST social media platform for bloggers is Pinterest. As mentioned above,Tailwind is an amazing tool to quickly automate your Pinterest pins to increase traffic and viral sharing over time. You can sign up for a free trial. With Tailwind, you can post your blog links into groups and tribes that will multiply your exposure over time.
Tailwind’s newest SmartLoop feature allows you to set up rules to automatically re-post your pins to boards on a set cadence for exposure to infinity and beyond! Tailwind has a Chrome extension and an app for super easy management! You can also create a Tailwind account to schedule Instagram posts.
Help fellow bloggers out and they will return the favor. Join groups and find a few virtual friends that compliment your style. Develop relationships with them to share each other’s content, answer questions, and guest post. This will help you all grow.
When I first started blogging, I looked at other travel bloggers as my competition, but there is plenty of attention to go around! Once I started recognizing other travel bloggers as trusted partners, it helped me learn and grow.
7) Take The Credit
If you mention a business or service in a post, reach out to them to let them know. Ask if there is anything you can change in your post and request that they re-share your post. Make sure you tag them when you post on social media too!
Building trusted relationships with brands, service providers, and products you love will add value for your readers. It will also build your credibility and experience if you decide to request to be sponsored in the future.
8) Use the Force
Or shall I say, use the network! Most new bloggers, including me, are bashful about broadcasting their site to friends and family. While I do agree that it is best to wait until you have at least a handful of posts before you spread the news, do not forget about your personal force!
Facebook is the easiest way to spread word about your new blog and cross-post your articles to your closest contacts. Invite friends and family to follow your Facebook page and cross-post your content to your personal page too.
Secondly, LinkedIn is also a wonderful way to expand your network and often under-utilized by bloggers. You can connect with a ton of people in your target demographic this way. You can even create a page for your blog on LinkedIn. Here is the FunFitnessFamily LinkedIn page if you want to check out an example of how it looks.
9) Don’t Have Tunnel Vision
You may think your content will drive traffic, but sometimes it just won’t. It can be disappointing, but you can protect yourself by doing a little legwork in advance to see what topics are trending.
Make sure you take some time to read others’ blogs in your niche on a regular basis and pay attention to which posts are being pinned frequently. This will give you some great inspiration!
If you have a very narrow focus, have a few evergreen posts that are on a broad topic that can apply to a larger audience. The broader topic posts will help draw readers in so that you get noticed.
10) Be Realistic
Even if you are the absolute best blogger ever, you will NOT become an overnight success. It takes years of hard work to get to the top. About a year into blogging, I met Alyssa Ramos at the Travel & Adventure Show. She is a self-made successful travel blogger. It was reassuring to hear from her that the road to being a travel blogger is a tedious process involving “hard work and sacrifice” to see a payoff.
Blogging statistics show that most people do not make a full-time living off blogging. Many successful bloggers create multiple revenue streams to make a full-time living out of it.
Goats on the Road paints an honest picture of how much they make travel blogging and how they supplement their income with other work. Everyday Wanderer also has an excellent post detailing the ugly truth about travel blogging.
11) Stay Motivated
Most importantly, DON’T GET DISCOURAGED! In fact, CMO.com recently reported that consumers are increasingly turning to digital content and social media to guide their decisions and fill their day so the need for travel blogs is there.
Think of your blog as a snowball. It will start off with a tiny handful of snow that you work hard to pack and mold into shape. Then, as you roll it, it gets easier, and it gets bigger and bigger. Just keep working at it and little by little, you’ll get to where you want to be.
These tops are spot on! Another I do is: when I link to a vendor, I then email/send the article to them and let them I gave them some linked love in case they miss their backlinks.cit always pays off.
Very nice article, it helped me a lot to explore. I am an entrepreneur by profession and a traveler by heart.
I must say that Jetblue change name on reservation process is so easy and flexible. I along with my friends had already booked a return flight via JetBlue airlines. So, I spoke to a representative, he told me about changing process.
We had a very great experience in Jamaica.
Great article ! I have just started a new travel blog myself NoShoesTraveler. I am trying to appeal more towards the working midlife traveler. Like myself who had kids and a career early on in life and now just starting to really travel for the first time. Honestly im only a couple months into it and its hard to find anyone who gives honest “free”advice. Most want you to buy an ebook or attend a seminar. So much of this article is totally what I have been thinking down to even inviting family and friends to see it on Facebook.
Thanks for your feedback! I am so glad it resonated with you! These are the things nobody tells us, right?! 😉 I’ll go check out your blog now. Feel free to ping me if you ever need anything along your journey!
I agree, it is amazing how many useless seminars are being offered for admittedly successful bloggers and they all seem to be valued at >$3,000 and are on a super special sale for only $100-$200. I recently sat through a free webinar and the red flags kept coming non-stop.
I know! I feel like if these people were really successful bloggers, why are they spending time selling their system versus just blogging to make 6 figures, right?
Thanks for all the tips and affirmations. I have also found myself getting sucked into the “share all” groups and it takes SO much time to reciprocate everyone’s likes/comments/shares, often with only a slight pay off in the form of a few days of traffic spiking, but the number of people I actually retain are much lower.
I have had a hard time with blogging books, because things change so quickly! Sometimes when I check out a book from the library, I find that the information is dated, even in books that are only a year old. DO you have any that you recommend??
I totally agree with the ‘recpirocate all’ groups. It can be rough if you have limited time (who doesn’t, right?!). I really liked Pinterest Power and Instagram Marketing 2019 by Ronald Roberts. I created an Amazon list here if you’d like to browse it: https://www.amazon.com/shop/funfitnessfam?listId=2LHQLCJFM2UDH
I totally NEEDED to read this post! Thank you so much
So happy it was useful for you!
This is truly informative! So many great tips and insights for travel blogging. I’m just starting out myself and overwhelmed for sure. Thank you!
Thanks. My blog has been hit or miss for a couple of years. It is time consuming and it is so easy to lose your motivation.
Great information! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for this post. As a beginning blogger, it is so easy to get overwhelmed and to feel like you are just not getting traction. I have to keep reminding myself that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.
These are some great tips. As a new blogger I am in the completely-overwhelmed-what-did-I-get-myself-into stage. I am going to be bookmarking this post and coming back to it often.
So glad it was helpful! It gets easier! Hang in there!
Thanks for the great information. I am a new travel blogger. I have asked to join the two Facebook groups you wrote about. I also enjoyed reading the realistic view on travel blogging. The article you liked to from “Goats on the Road” was very helpful. Thanks for the tips. I hope in the future we may have an opportunity to collaborate.
Cool! I hope to see you around the groups! 😀
This post is so right on! I’m a part-time travel blogger who goes to work Monday through Friday then works on my blog every night when I get home. There is literally ALWAYS something I need to be doing or learning. I just discovered Facebook groups in the last few months and I just love them. Traffic and followers are growing slow but steady. That being said, this whole blogging thing has been so fun for me. I’ve learned so much since I began this journey it’s made it all worth it.
I’m in the same boat. I keep track of my stats and remind myself even though it’s growing slowly, it’s growing!
Thanks, for this interesting share. All the points you have included in the above article are great. I loved the way you have written this blog post.
Thanks so much, Daniel!
Awesome tips. I’m just starting out and found a lot of useful info here…
Thanks! So glad it was helpful!
I really appreciate how realistic these tips are for new travel bloggers. Trying to be too fancy can be a really unrealistic goal when first beginning as a blogger. I think even just in goal setting we all think that from our very first post we’re on the way to blogging stardom, but it actually takes a ton of work. Thank you both for advice and your honesty on the process!
Yes, so much more work than I ever expected! It’s so helpful to get the support from other travel bloggers in the same boat.