I was invited to contribute to a post on Blogging.com, to share advice and tips for blogging. The article just published, as below.
Tips for Blogging
‘Travel blogs come in all shapes and sizes. Some focus on offering tips and hacks for globetrotting on a shoestring budget. Some offer stories of personal journeys of discovery. Others concentrate on stunning photos of wildlife and wildernesses, culture and craft. But one of the most enduring categories of travel blogging is the destination guide. Travel guides in printed form have, of course, long been essential reading for tourists and overseas explorers, providing the lowdown on what to see, where to stay, what to eat and so on for any given location.
Blogging has breathed new life into the travel guide. Written by locals, travellers and enthusiasts with genuine insider knowledge, they are able to break through the formulaic confines of the traditional guide to offer something more personal and genuine. In addition, travel guide blogs have opened the genre up beyond a focus on specific destinations. You can find blogs offering guides to the best culinary and cultural destinations, natural wonders and eco-tourism.
To find out more about travel guide blogging, we caught up with four prominent writers and asked them to, er, guide us through what they do.
Charting A Course: Starting a Travel Blog
Dawn Jorgensen already had a career in the travel industry when she decided to branch out and combine her love of travelling with her passion for conservation and environmental issues. Dawn told us: After more than a decade of professionally designing dream holidays, as well as taking many myself, I founded The Incidental Tourist in 2010 with the express purpose of sharing my love for travel and encouraging others to see more of the world.
The Incidental Tourist is an extension of myself and has been from the start. It’s also not a hobby, but my full-time profession. With that in mind, I focus my energy on building relationships, uncovering the essence of the destinations that I visit and sharing the stories from the people I meet, being ever present and appreciative of the privilege of travel. My passion for eco-tourism and environmental issues has also brought me some loyal readers and I do my best to evolve and stay relevant in a bid to keep their following.
Talking about uncovering the essence of a destination, there can be few better examples than the India travel guide blog IndiTales. Creator Anuradha Goyal has spent almost a decade and a half chronicling her vast and diverse home country, travelling its length and breadth and sharing her experiences so others may follow.
Focus on commercialization . . . travel deep and write passionately. ~ Anuradha Goyal, inditales.com
“I started out of curiosity — what is blogging?” said Anuradha. “I have been blogging since the nascent days of blogging. I am passionate about travelling. IndiTales is blessed to have readers who further enrich my travel experiences. Travel and readers keep me motivated and inspired.”
Hugo and Cristina are a husband and wife team who specialize in writing guides to places of natural and cultural interest, on their blog Breath With Us as well as for other publications. “I wanted to share my travel adventures with a broader audience,” Hugo told us, “including my family and friends.”
“In my head, I always had the idea that I was visiting interesting places around the world, and that it could be useful to others. It also helps me keep my memories alive.”
Destination: Travel Blog Success
Hugo admits, however, that making a success of a travel blog is far from easy. “Blogging is hard work. Really hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort to keep going after a few years. But despite being frustrating at times, it’s also very rewarding when you get great feedback from your readers.
If you want to monetize, you need a strategy. ~ Maria Haase, MariaAbroad.com
“The secret for us has been travelling to destinations that people are curious about and not just your average popular destination. Photography has also been a key component.”
Maria Haase is an experienced professional travel writer who blogs at MariaAbroad and is also the editor-in-chief of online destination guide Europe Up Close. Explaining her journey to where she is today, she told us:
I was living abroad in China and I started a blog to share stories and photos about my adventures with friends and family.
The secret for how I have got to where I am today is for me the helpful community of other travel bloggers. They have taught me so much and no matter what the problem is, someone always takes the time to answer a question or help you out.
Dawn recognizes that her professional experience prior to launching The Incidental Tourist has been key to her own success. I have a background in tourism, having run my own tour operating company for over ten years before starting my blog, which gave me an excellent understanding of the travel industry. That, a handful of incredible opportunities that came my way in the early days and a ridiculous amount of hard work and dedication.
Asked what advice she would give to up-and-coming bloggers looking to make an impression in the travel guide sector, Anuradha gives this advice: Focus on commercialization. I started focusing on monetizing the blog very late. Having said that — no regrets. When I started out there were no precedents so it has been an experimental journey all the way through. IndiTales has seen generations of evolution in technology, multi-media and social media.
Apart from that, travel deep and write passionately – never do anything that breaks the trust of readers. Have clarity on why you want to blog – for passion or for money? Once you know, have a long-term focus.
Maria agrees that a clear focus on your goals is essential. If you want to monetize, you need a strategy. You need content that focuses on conversion and is still enjoyable to read for your audience. Implementing SEO from the beginning to ensure a steady stream of web traffic is vital.
Don’t wait until everything is perfect. I have revised my best blog posts 50+ times over the years, trying new things and testing them. Publish, learn, and then revise.
Dawn believes the most important thing is “to be professional and ethical, gracious and respectful — and to always say thank you. Also, write as often as possible and engage with your audience.
“You can’t please everyone, neither should you try,” she adds.
Summing up, Hugo warns would-be travel bloggers to be prepared for plenty of work. “I knew it would require a lot of dedication but wasn’t expecting it to become a full-time hobby!” he said. “If you want to be a travel blogger, you have to travel. And you don’t even need to be traveling full-time. Building a portfolio of destinations is your biggest asset.”
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