How to get started as a travel blogger
Blogging while you travel can enrich your journey in more ways than one. It helps keep your friends and family back home informed, creates a permanent record of your trip and gives you the opportunity to take time to reflect on your experiences. Following are my top tips for getting started as a travel blogger.
First things first – you need to decide where to set up your blog. There are three main options:
- Choose to be part of an existing site, like Travelblog.org. It’s quite easy to set up a blog on Travelblog.org, and you will be part of a like-minded community of travel bloggers.
- Set up your blog on WordPress.com or Blogspot (I am a big fan of WordPress!). This is a bit more complicated than Travelblog.org, but still doable for most people. You can customize your domain name to a certain extent, but it will have WordPress or Blogspot in the name. There are certain restrictions – and risks – to this kind of blog. No advertising is allowed and your content could disappear.
- For the more ambitious, and perhaps more technically minded, buy a domain name and use CMS software, like WordPress, to set up your own free-standing blog – this is what the professionals do. If you think you may want to get serious about travel blogging, you should definitely own your blog.
Your blog can be a straightforward record of your trip, for example, “Jen’s European adventure,” or you can have fun with the theme and create a niche. There are bloggers who blog about solo travel, backpacking, family travel; there are destination-specific bloggers; and there are bloggers who blog about things like authentic travel or who look for quirky travel ideas.
The best way to find your niche is to find your passion. If you are passionate about a particular region or type of travel; if you are on a quest; if you have a story to tell – let yourself follow your passion. There are a million travel bloggers, but there is only one you. To stand out, be yourself.
Once you have decided on your approach and you have your blog set up, you can start contributing to it. You will need a digital camera and a video recorder – some cameras do both. You don’t need to buy an expensive camera as blogs do not need high-resolution photos or HD video.
Blogs that include photos and / or video are more widely read than straight text. Some travel bloggers, in fact, are strictly video bloggers; some are strictly photo bloggers. The mix is up to you – just make sure you have some visual elements and, as a rule, don’t write longer than about 300-400 words per blog
Write with your audience in mind, tell a story, be specific with your details and don’t be afraid to take a stand. Travel blog readers follow personalities. Create your personality on your blog and let it inform your social media efforts, too. Open a Twitter account and start a Facebook fan page for your blog. Most of all, have fun with it and allow your unique voice, world view and discoveries to shine through.
TIP: Join the Global Bloggers Network to meet other travel bloggers and ask questions.
[NOTE: Originally published on Verge Magazine’s website. It was the winning submission for the Verge Storyboard contest, week of Feb. 21, 2011.]
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