I've recently started a blog about travel and life. It's still fairly new but I'm always looking to improve it and work toward establishing a genuine following. Does anyone have some experience with this and want to share any advice?
Since you have started your blog, I am not going to start with finding a software solution. As Alana mentioned, be genuine. Understand what is motivating you - is it an itch? passion? experience? and leverage that. Do not try to be all things to all people - Find your area and start exploiting it. Here is my first suggestion. Survey existing blogs (and podcasts) you like about travel and - publish your list! Here are 50 more suggestions on establishing a genuine following:
#1 Run a travel related contest – I've run blog contests and all I can say is that it gives great attention and new traffic to your blog.
#2 Constantly review books/products/films/travel information – Reviews deliver a lot of value to your followers, and people are constantly looking for honest opinions.
#3 Make a guide to your blog – Tell people your thoughts and approach. As you gain experience or know an area of travel extremely well or know some topics extra well, feel free to help the ones who have less skills and experience than you do.
#4 Interview someone – Know any travel celebrities or people who have great stories behind their travel experience? Interviews are extremely popular in two cases: a) you deliver an interview with a person or b) you share useful and practical tips and content.
#5 Post cool travel infographic – Infographics help to visualize complicated data, and they’re hugely popular these days.
#6 Constructively criticize a travel website/blog or a person – The web and blogs are great for discussion, opinions and criticizing. Nevertheless, if you are brave enough to say some crispy words about someone, make sure your text has strong arguments and is based on real facts. Random ranting or trolling is pointless and degrades your value.
#7 Make your posts full of jpg's – Photos are the symbol of online entertainment and humor. There are thousands of images that can help you to produce new ones.
#8 Create a photo post – Share your favorite travel photos that accentuate your travel niche, such as your latest traveling adventure. Keep in mind that
#9 Tell a personal travel secret – We all have our dreams as well as secrets. Sharing them publicly gives very engaging content to the followers. Sometimes a hostel is better than a hotel - access to showers!
#10 Write inspirational/motivational post with famous quotes – People need little kicks to get going and get things done. Big things start from small ones, and motivational posts can do miracles. Here’s one of the best quotes from Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else´s life.”
#11 Share recent travel experiences – Travel blogs and posts are popular, and there are people who earn a living solely from writing about their adventures. Sharing inspiration and tips from your adventures is very useful to your audience, whether you’re in the travel industry or not. In case you haven’t traveled for a while, publish the best or worst experiences you’ve had in certain countries/airline companies/etc.
#12 Host a giveaway – Have you ever thought why products like GoPro become more and more popular with each day? They do giveaway campaigns regularly. People love free stuff, and taking advantage of that helps you reach new audiences.
#13 Write down a conspiracy theory – Have you heard about all the number theories behind important events and people? Now it’s time to start a new one; let your imagination free, or simply share you opinions about the known ones.
#14 Show log files of intense conversations – Who doesn't like to read log-files that are somewhat offensive?
#15 Write a short story – No previous experience with writing fiction? Publish your short story (about 200 – 500 words), and ask your followers for feedback.
#16 Sing a travel song – Great artists and singers are not born overnight. First, they’ll have to discover their talent. Find your new hobby or passion in music.
#17 Create a list of something – People are lazy. They don’t want to waste time on searching and gathering information. That’s the reason why lists are popular. Create a TOP10 travel distinations (or the top 10 reference travel lists) , or better yet, a TOP 100 list of 100 list sites.. .
#18 Write down all the thoughts you had in mind today – This is pretty mindf*#?, but if you are bored, then you can try this method as well.
#19 Share your goals/dreams publicly – Write down all your goals for the current year or dreams where you want to be in 5 years time. It gives nice pressure and motivation to achieve the goals, and it will excite your loyal followers.
#20 Start a discussion thread and ask others to join – this can get very interesting very quickly
#21 Announce that you've turned someone's comments into “do-follow” so you can get more comments – You will probably get 50% more comments in that way. However, the downside of this technique is that you might receive a lot of “spam” blog comments as well.
#22 Build your travel to-do or bucket list – There are many to-do list apps and services, but try to publish your tasks on your blog. Other people will have the opportunity to learn from you. How you build your tasks, how broad or narrow they are, etc. can all be helpful to your audience.
#23 Write a post in response to some recent post/news – In other words, become an opinion blogger or analyst. When you manage to write high-level content on hot topics, your blog can be featured on major newspapers and websites.
#24 Make a full case study about something – We covered tutorials already, but case studies reveal what you’ve done, how you’ve done it, and what the results are. This is extremely interesting for many folks, especially for me.
#25 Share your favorite blogs/bloggers in one post – It’s a bit similar to “Make a list” idea, but sharing the blogs and bloggers you follow is never a bad idea. Give the resources to your readers; believe me, they are grateful and won’t stop following you.
#26 Invite your readers to submit guest posts – Are you struggling with new posts or have to leave for some time? Ask people to write guest posts. It’s a win-win situation; you get the content, and they can build up their name or brand.
#27 Publish the best comments that your blog has received throughout the history – Are you using a vote system on your comments or just know the posts where some comments have raised very fruitful discussions? Share them in a separate post.
#28 Share your blog's income + traffic numbers – Prove that a blog in your niche can have reasonable traffic numbers and maybe even be profitable. Bring Google Analytics data to daylight and it’s very nice if you provided some analysis in important points, for example a major change in traffic numbers etc. How knows, you might be able to make money!
#29 Tell a joke – That’s pretty straight forward. Humor never gets old, and great jokes are really entertaining.
#30 Bust a myth – There are thousands of well-known things that actually are not true. In other words, they’re called myths. Take some time and do some research to disprove some of them. If your followers love it, feel free to become a Myth Buster.
#31 Produce or publish your art – Online galleries and portfolios look cool and can be the first step to the world for artists. So publish your paintings, comics, graphical design masterpieces, and other creations as well.
#32 Publish a post about your success and epic failures in travel – Being successful means making mistakes (or in other words: failing). But failing is not all bad. It’s a learning experience that allows you to be better the next time. So, that’s the reason why you should talk publicly about your success and failures, to let others learn from it.
#33 Ask your readers to re- tweet, like, and share the posts they like – Spreading the word about your blog or posts is important, but sometimes people need a little extra kick to do that, so write a post for that.
#34 Start a poll – That’s simple. Want to know what other people prefer or think about a certain topic? Start a poll to get quick overview.
#35 Write a post about things you regret doing/not doing – When you surf around ask, or google, or Yahoo Answers, you’ll find many very popular topics and posts about the things people regret doing and not doing. Try to write down your own list.
#36 Pose a rhetorical question in your blog post – This blog post idea is similar to posting random quotes just to produce some content, but it can really spark a discussion, even if the question is rhetorical.
#37 Post a travel picture that speaks more than thousand words - Sometimes you can and SHOULD post images that tell us a story. It does not only grab attention and increase your visitors average time spent on the blog, but it’s also extremely interesting.
#38 Publish some little or unknown facts about travel – The Internet and different encyclopedias are full of facts, some of them really random. For example “Did you know that the pink/red/white color of flamingos comes from the food they eat and varies based on what country they are in?” You can gather those facts in your own post to generate buzz.
#39 Publish an In Memorial post – It’s polite to commemorate the people who pass away and have travel experiences .
#40 Bring out the most important dates in history – Pick a country/war/invention/company, and write down the important dates of it. People love to get general but detailed overviews.
#41 Tell about your latest event experiences – Visited a concert or a festival lately? Write a review about it.
#42 Publish your experience online – Show off your previous experience and the things you are good at. You might get a job offer for doing that.
#43 Post an obvious lie or urban legend – then correct it. You can turn things upside down when you tell an obvious lie inside your blog post. People might get mad at you, but that doesn’t matter.
#44 Write where you’d like to travel – … and encourage others to do the same in your comments. This kind of conversations usually turns out pretty big.
#45 Blog about marketing secrets – Tell your readers about your top secret strategies, techniques, and tactics you use to get more followers and traffic.
#46 Write about the most important lessons you’ve learned in your life – What is more kind than helping others and analyzing yourself at the same time?
#47 Tell your readers what they should do to succeed in travelling – Create a blog post that explains your readers what they should do in order to become successful as you are.
#48 Do a video post about your day – Let your readers see about your daily life. For me, it’s extremely interesting, but you also need to have some courage to do that. In either way, it’s up to you.
#49 Show off your personal stuff; car(s), camera, computer house, and accessories – This is something that creates many different opinions among your readers. Don’t be scared to show your stuff. It can also turn out as a motivational blog post from someone who doesn’t own those kinds of things. People love those kinds of things.
#50 Build a list – Build a list of your readers. You can use Aweber or Mailchimp for that; in that way you can inform your readers about the new posts you’ve made.
just put pen to paper as much as possible. every new article will get better and better! check out other blogs and see what they are doing, you will notice a lot of the same articles…. so don't do that lol! be your self and think out side the box!
I've been travel blogging for a while now but just starting to focus on it more now. The first thing is to work on quality, not quantity, and just be yourself! People want to hear about your experiences exactly the way you experienced them!
For building a social following, try joining in on weekly travel chats (#LPchat, #GirlsTravel, #AskOrbitz, #JAchat) these will help you meet other bloggers, and travel lovers!
Also, you should try attending the Women In Travel Summit in Boston at the end of March! I'll be there, and a lot of other bloggers.
Hope that helps :)
Pay for your own trips and don't ask for free stuff. You will be offered trips from time to time and it's fine to take them, but make it clear to your audience. It's obvious to your readers if you are on a press trip or not. Having your own experiences and being able to write honestly without a PR person or destination director breathing down your neck will garner trust from you readers and in turn you will have a great following. Transparency is key.
Don't do what everybody else does.
Looking at your site, I only have a couple of suggestions. The first is to get your own domain name. While there's great content on .wordpress and .blogspot blogs, you get taken more seriously if you have your own url.
I might play with your wordpress template a bit, so that you show more posts the moment a person clicks to your site. Just a great picture, the title of your post, and maybe a small blurb for each. Blogs like Adventurous Kate and Young Adventuress do this pretty well.
It looks as if you have all your networking set up - twitter, instagram, an e-mail list, etc., which is great! I'd make it more accessible, with icons for each, displayed high up in your sidebar.
Finally, if you really want more traffic, a few of the bigger bloggers sell ad space to other travel blogs. I don't know if this is a long-term solution, but it could give you a bump in traffic!
As a blogger who is now in the 6th year, I will firstly tell you that Travel Blogging is not easy, there are no shortcuts to success. Just be patient and be true to yourself. Write from your heart and rest will follow!
I wish you all the very best :)
Welcome to the ever growing world of travel blogging :) There is myriad of travel blogs out there so you need to ask yourself a couple of question.
1. What is this blog for?
Are you blogging as a diary on your travels mostly for your self, is it to update friends and families back home or do you want to make a business out of this?
2. What's your passion?
If the reason for what you are doing is the first or second one above, then you just do what you love. If it is the third one, it is essential that you do what you love. Because passion builds a following of like-minded people. So realize not why you are blogging but why are you travelling? Are you trying to find yourself? Do you love to meet different cultures? Do you love food? Do you love dancing? Do you love adrenalin sports?
What ever you it is you love when you are travelling, write about that and stick to it. Don't do just reviews of hotels and tourist traps that everyone goes to. Share your discoveries that you feel make yourself grow and develop into the person you want to be.
Follow other bloggers and communicate with them. There is a lot you can learn from them on what works and what doesn't, how to create content, how to monetize, the importance of SEO, how to make the right sponsorship contracts and affiliate marketing etc. - and what it is that really makes them money. Often it can be a good idea to team up with a couple of other like-minded bloggers. Join travel blogging communities on Facebook and elsewhere.
If you want to build a following you need to communicate with your followers. Respond to comments, even if it is just with a thank you. Find others in the same location on twitter and instagram and comment on their posts, ask for tips and advice and tell them how they have inspired you to try something new. Interaction is key in any community building.
And more important than anything - do what you love. If you love to write, write. If photography is your thing, focus on that. Videos? Then that is what you do. Only that way can you keep your enthusiasm. If you try to do something else it becomes hard work and tires you out, because travel blogging will never make anyone rich.
Have fun :)
Hey good luck! I've been blogging for about three years now (it's a lifestyle blog, but I have a lot of traveling stuff thrown in).
My top advice for you, is to never give up! It's been a tough three years for sure, and I've contemplated giving up many times because I wasn't getting enough views, or as much advertising as I wanted! But if it's something you actually love to do, you need to keep your chin up, and keep going, regardless of pageviews or numbers!
I have sooo many different lessons I could tell you that I've learned over the years, but message me on my blog, and I'm sure I can help you out, I'll even put your blog on my sidebar under my "Blogs I Love" Section! (:
Heres some advice to a new blogger. Before you write anything, Realize how lives are interconnected and can benefit from your point of view and perspective and advice. Treat new subjects with respect ( we rarely know it all ) as many things we see may be just the tip of the iceberg and our first impressions may be harsh or out of touch with reality. Be conscientious about the love that goes into every detail of your lifes adventures and remember that although some things you see may currently be unpleasant much of it is changing rapidly for the better. Be an ambassador of the Open Mind and Open Heart as this will bring you to the best moments with other people and beings around the world and probably the Universe. Have a mission to be Happy and spread Love and Joy and other great virtues as this opens the mystical doors of Life with many Happy trails. Ultimately remember that your exploration is revealing your true Self, in the end you will comprehend it was you all the time so tread lovely and lightly upon yourself. (ps. I have a secret weapon, I love to Hula Hoop and I share it all the time..smiles then stories!! pic is Miss Universe Costa Rica hooping with my handmade of recycled plastic hula.
Think ahead for SEO too. Not just good to great contents, photos and networks.
Explore good blogs in your opinion regularly. They are your good friends and teachers.
My personal opinion:
Write down your impression in the moment and then later, when you rest and you are in a peaceful place - write your trip story again. Then you can distinguish your first impression from the overall filing that the trip left you and you can choose what to share with your audience...