How To Become A Successful Travel Blogger: Zero To Hero

When you ask pretty much anyone what their dream job would be, many would say one that gets paid to travel the world. For us, becoming a successful travel blogger and growing our influencer marketing has made that possible, and turned a dream into a reality.

If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re wanting to become a successful travel blogger and hopefully earn a full time income doing the thing you love. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best job in the world but it isn’t plain sailing either. On the surface, it seems like the perfect job and in many ways it is, but at the same time it a huge amount of dedication, perseverance, an entrepreneurial spirit, skills in storytelling, and approaching it as a business.

It takes years for any business to become successful and that of a travel blogger is no different.

You’ll need to remember that you won’t be an overnight success and instead it will take hard work to meet all your goals. It wasn’t until our second year that we started to earn enough to live and travel comfortably.

But, if travel and blogging are things that you are passionate about, mixing those two things will be the best decision you will make.

Don’t let that scare you or limit yourself, as trust me it is ALL worth it in the end.

We started this journey as bloggers as we wanted to be financially independent, share our knowledge of travelling and helping others to pursue their dreams. Yannick and I were prepared to put everything we had into making this work without any prior knowledge of creating a blog and all that hard work payed off.

Ready to become a successful travel blogger? Let’s get started!

Top Tips On Becoming A Successful Travel Blogger

Building An Engaged And Loyal Audience Is Key

Without readers or a following having a successful blog is near impossible. Your audience are the building blocks to your business, they are the ones that are going to read, be educated and inspired to travel and learn from you. They will in turn be the ones that earn you an income. As much as it sucks, numbers in the blogging world are a big deal for brands and potential partners.

Ultimately remember one thing: Focus on building viewership and the money will flow naturally.

Here are a few top tips on building an engaged audience:

  • Content is King.
    • If you’re wanting to write as a business, you’ll be needing to research what people are wanting not what you want to write. Follow your passion whilst also creating value for your readers.
    • Quality over quantity. Writing in-depth blog post once a week is much better than short wishy washy posts that readers wish were more valuable. This is also important for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is a HUGE factor in getting your blog known.
  • Guest Posting.
    • When you’re first starting off it can be so hard to get your name out there, especially how the travel blogging world is fairly saturated. A good way to change that is to write guest posts on other popular blogs with large audiences, which in turn will bring their readers to your blog.
    • Do be picky when choosing blogs to write on however, as it does take a lot of time and effort in creating these posts and you’ll be wanting to spend time on your blog too. Write on blogs that are a similar niche to you, where their readers may siphon to you.
  • Be a Social Media Guru.
    • When starting out, social media is likely to be your biggest driver of traffic to your blog, and today it still is for us. It can be SO powerful and can even be a business on the side of your blog. We started our blog due to Instagram, we already had around 50,000 followers on Instagram and so many people were asking us travel tips and hacks that instead of just messaging people the same stuff we could direct them to our own little piece of the internet.
    • Don’t spread your eggs to much, stick to around 3 or 4 social media channels that you know you’ll dedicate time to. Pinterest is probably the best driver of traffic, Instagram is great for connecting with brands (read our guide on how to build a successful Instagram) as well as Twitter and Facebook is great for blogging groups and connecting.
  • SEO should not be underestimated.
    • If you’re unsure of what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Putting it simply, it basically enables search engines like Google to pick up your website/blog post easily. There are a few key ways you can do this, but by all means not restricted too:
      • You’ll need a focus keyword for every page/post you write. For example this blog posts keyword is successful travel blogger.
      • Long-tail keywords are more beneficial. I’m more likely to show up when someone types in successful travel blogger than just blogger. Blogger has a lot more competition and doesn’t exactly address what this post is about.
      • The focus keyword should appear numerous times throughout the post.
      • The focus keyword should appear in the title of the blog post and in the URL.
      • Try to included outbound (no-follow to relevant sites) and inbound (links to your other relevant blog posts) links.
      • Include numerous images and each post should be a minimum of around 1000 words.

 

Invest In Your Blog

How To Become A Successful Travel Blogger

Like any business, you’ll need in investment money into it before you start seeing any rewards. Trust me when I say every successful travel blogger invests a substantial amount of money into their blog to keep it running on a daily basis. When we started our blog every expense hurt our bank account, but we soon came to realise that money spent wisely is a good investment for the future.

First and foremost you’ll need to pay for a hosting provider like Bluehost or Siteground. From there you will start building the foundations of your travel blog.

Click here to read our easy step by step guide on how to create a successful and profitable travel blog!

Here are a few things that we recommend investing in before you start:

 

Build A Loyal Email List

So many bloggers swear by building an email list more than social media channels, after all they are your true followers and most loyal. It is also proven that having an email list has a much higher conversion rate than any social media channel. For example, if you have 100 subscribers 20/30 of them may click your link to your site. That’s a conversion rate of 20-30%!

Bottom line is when you have guaranteed reach, better targeting, and attention of your users, then you are definitely going to increase your revenue.

So by now you’re probably thinking, how the heck do I build an email list?! It’s simple, just follow these steps:

  1. You’ll need to register to a reliable email service provider. We recommend using Mailerlite if you’re just starting out as your first 1000 subscribers are free. If you’re wanting more flexibility, customisation and don’t mind paying from the get go Convertkit is your next best bet.
  2. The next step is to integrate email subscription forms through out your WordPress site. To increase your email subscribers, you need to find the perfect spot on your site where subscription forms perform the best.
    1. This may be on your highest viewed blog posts.
    2. Homepage.
    3. Footer.
    4. Popup forms.
  3. You’ll need to offer something of value and make it easy for them to subscribe.
    1. An E-Book that you know your readers will love.
    2. Checklist related to your popular blog post.
  4. As of 25th May 2018, the GDPR will be enforced, to protect the privacy and data of all EU citizens. We don’t know the full story, but you’ll need to provide an unticked box in your sign up banner, and only if they tick it, will they be part of your subscriber list. Don’t worry too much as you’re email provider will have you covered.

 

Diversify Your Income Streams

How To Become A Successful Travel Blogger

We’re not saying travel blogging is a risky business, but having multiple income streams is a good way to spread out where and how you earn your money. For us, we are always in search of new ways of creating an income stream. Be a hustler and don’t be afraid to think out outside of the box.

If you’re new to blogging, most start out their income stream through sponsored post and affiliate marketing. Do be aware that you’ll receive many “spam” emails asking for sponsored posts on your site for free or very cheap. Do reply to them, and state that you charge a fee for having sponsored links on your site and that you only accept “no-follow” links (do-follow can seriously harm your site if Google finds out you’ve been paid for it). Personally, we suggest you never go below $125 for a sponsored post.

When we first started out we had no clue or knowledge on how to effectively and successfully implement affiliate links onto our travel blog. Therefore, we decided to invest in our best decision yet, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It was like a whole new blogging world had opened for us that we never knew existed!

Read about our full and honest review of the course!

Although these two income streams are the most common, there are soooo many other ways you can diversify your income, such as freelancing, brand ambassadorship, selling courses, selling merchandise, social media campaigns, leading tours, press trips, consulting work and much more. Here is a more in-depth look on how to get paid to travel the world.

As we built up our readership and viewers, we decided to launch our own online course that we knew we had knowledge and expertise in. Our Instamazing Passion & Profits course launched roughly a year ago and from that alone we earn enough to travel the world without taking into account any other income stream!

 

Attend Travel Conferences

Making yourself known and connecting with brands is a huge part of being a successful travel blogger, and there is no better way to do this than at travel conferences. While it’s easy to make contact with brands online, nothing beats face-to-face communications. These conferences provide the opportunity for you to network with brands and companies, creating the first bridge to future and on-going partnerships, not to mention it’s the perfect place to grab a press trip or two!

Here are some of the biggest and best travel conferences around the world:

  • Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) – the largest and most popular travel blogging conference. Each year a conference is held in destinations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.  You can attend one, or all, it’s up to you.
  • Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin (ITB) — the biggest travel trade-show in the world located in Berlin.
  • Traverse – Traverse is the UK’s largest travel blogging conference.
  • Travel Bloggers Conference (TBC) – organised by the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

 

Be Persistent & Reliable

How To Become A Successful Travel Blogger

Like we mentioned at the start, your travel blog will not be build overnight. It takes time (a lot of time) to become successful and influential. Don’t expect anything but hard work for the first year, and remember that 95% of all bloggers quit within the first year, be that 5% that pushes through. Remember: Don’t rush. Build something that will last. Build something that is unique and give back to your followers.

You’ll also need to be reliable, if you say you’ll post three blog posts a week when you first start off, do it. If you say your 90 day goal is to reach 500 email subscribers and 2,000 Facebook likes strive to do that. We personally recommend buying a content/social media planner that you can write down all your goals and things to do, that way you won’t forget and having it written down may make it easier to be persistent.

 

Hire Others To Join Your “Team”

When you first start off, and generally for the first year or two you won’t need another partner to help you keep up. However, once your blog starts taking off, running everything will become a 24/7 job and soon your energy will fade.

Think of it like this: Does a normal business have one person that heads up SEO, email marketing, website design, social media, finance, writer, photographer etc? Nope, so why should yours? So when you start earning a decent income, don’t be afraid to hire others to help you with your successful travel blog!

Hiring others allows you to focus on the stuff you’re good at, while leaving the rest to those who probably know better in that certain skill than you.

 

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

A huge obstacle stopping so many travel bloggers from being successful is that they’re nervous of reaching out to large brands/companies in the fear they will be rejected. Every successful travel blogger has been rejected more than they’ve been successful, trust me.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

If we hadn’t reached out to brands we wouldn’t have worked with brands like Six Senses, Hilton, Centara Grand or visited places like the Maldives, South Africa or Indonesia! Along the way we received so many rejections and even no replies, of course it hurt deep down but remember where there is a rejection there is an acceptance elsewhere.

Top tip: Before you reach out to any brand or partnership you’ll need to create a media kit first. If you’re unsure of what that is, it’s basically a simplified PDF or document that you show possible partners that include who you are, what your blog is about, your target audience, testimonials, social media following, previous partners and more. You can easily create one on sites like Canva for free.

***

Creating a successful travel blog is time consuming and bloody hard work, don’t think you’ll get free hotel stays and sponsored trips from the get go. You’ll first need to build a loyal following, focus on content and to never give up. It’s fairly easy to reach a certain standard but if you want to stand out these steps will point you in the right direction to becoming a successful travel blogger.

Remember: travel blogging is the best and will always be the best job we’ve ever had! We wouldn’t change it for the world 🙂

Have any questions about becoming a successful travel blogger? Drop us a message in the comments!


READ NEXT: HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL & PROFITABLE TRAVEL BLOG FROM SCRATCH


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How To Become A Successful Travel Blogger: Zero To Hero.

By | 2018-05-18T21:47:36+00:00 May 18th, 2018|Travel Blogging|2 Comments

About the Author:

Hey! We're Emma and Yannick! A travel blogging couple who met in Thailand in 2014. We've currently travelled to 43 countries with no plans to stop! We travel the world in luxury, without paying the price for it, through travel hacking and insider knowledge. Through this, we love to help and teach others to travel well for less, just like we do!

2 Comments

  1. Nadya May 20, 2018 at 10:26 am - Reply

    This is such an inspiring post! I’m a new travel blogger, and occasionally I think I’m going insane, but from the looks of this, I may not be doing too badly. And when I’ve got that extra bit of cash I’ll have to take the affiliate marketing course, because while I get the basic idea of it, I don’t really understand it. Thanks for all the useful information!

  2. Ryan Biddulph May 21, 2018 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Exactly Emma! Engagement and loyalty flows to generous bloggers, who share helpful posts about travels, for aiding travelers. Then these pros build their travel bloggers friend networks to expand their reach. I cannot even comprehend how many new folks I meet daily LOL. All worth the success and of course, all worth the folks whom I aid in both traveling, and in becoming full time travel bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Ryan

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