In Part 1 of The Basics of Building a Successful Travel Blog I talked about how important it is to find your voice and a travel niche that you can become an expert in. It’s important to establish yourself within a good collection of material that stays on topic and doesn’t divert from your main niche and direction. Keep your posting schedule, voice, and topic consistent and readers will keep coming back to read what you’ve written.
Don’t Waste Time
In every post get to the point and do it fast. Take a lesson from journalists and use the upside down pyramid to organize your writing. Your most important and interesting information should be at beginning of each post. Your first sentence should pretty much tell what your entire post is about and convey the point you’re trying to get across.
- If you’re writing more of a travelogue based on your personal trips, try not to spend more time than you need on any given aspect of a place you’ve visited.
Take a look at what you’ve written before posting anything and cut out 20% of it. You can usually find lots of added text that doesn’t quite fit or is more filler than anything else. You need to be as efficient and effective of a writer as you can for an Internet audience.
Use Pictures, Lots of Them
Don’t neglect the visual aspect of your blog and make sure to include at least one picture per post. If you’re traveling remember to take pictures that will be specifically for your blog. Like your writing though just post the best and most interesting ones.
- Worried about posting the pictures you’ve taken because you’re not a great photographer? Learn how to take decent travel photos and add a personal touch to them.
Posting pictures you’ve taken, some with you in them, will help your readers connect with you and add to the personal feel of your travel blog.
Travel With Your Blog In Mind
Most travel blogs are written by people who travel more often than not and since you’re one of them you’ll need to prepare yourself for when you’re not able to sit down and post. Make sure to have a rough idea of when and where you’ll have wireless access and learn how to bum a wi-fi signal on the road.
Before you leave for any trip make sure to prepare your mind and your travel blog.
- Maintain a List of Ideas – You should always have a list of at least 20 things to blog about in a list somewhere. It can be pen and paper or in an email to yourself but don’t let yourself run out of topics (especially while you’re on the road!)
- Use Series, Angles, and Elements – Take a single event or trip and break it down into a series of posts or look at the same subject from a number of different angles or voices. There are endless elements of any single event you can use to branch off into other posts. It just takes some dedicated time thinking about it.
- If You Don’t Care, Nobody Else Will Either – When you post something that you’re not interested in or enthusiastic about none of your readers will be either. Find something interesting about the subject you want to write about or don’t post it at all.
Keep The Posts Coming
The most difficult aspect of travel blogging, and blogging in general, is to keep the posts going long after you’ve started. Most everyone starts out with energy and enthusiasm but it can be trying at times to keep it all going. Try and not force your writing and don’t be afraid to take a break from time to time if you need it. That’s where your idea lists come in handy. The longer the list the easier it will be to find something that gets your creative engine going on any given day.
A key to any successful blog is consistency. It’s simply unavoidable that you’ll need to write and continue to do so for a long time. It takes years of writing but pace yourself with a weekly posting goal. Set a schedule and make sure to blog according to that schedule as closely as you can. Whether it’s once a week, twice a month, or everyday pick a pace you can maintain for the long run.
More Work Than You Think
Travel blogging is harder than most people realize at first which is probably why so many stop doing it after awhile. It will take you years of writing and learning from your mistakes to establish trust and a connection with your readers. You can help yourself by organizing your thoughts and establishing a blogging routine.
Keep your own creativity and blogging passion alive by varying your content with pictures, some personality, and take breaks when you need them. Over time you’ll be able to build a loyal following and with luck reach your personal goals for a successful travel blog.
[photos by: mao_lini, Spencer Finnley, casasroger]
Fantastic. Keeping the posts coming is the best advice and something I am worried about once we get on the road. But you gave me a great piece of advice once (#2 under Travel Blog with your mind)….don’t be afraid to turn one long blog into a series. And I will be scheduling posts a lot I think for the time that I will be away from the internet for a long time.
I was scared of doing series in the beginning because they were generally shorter and I figured I might overkill a topic. I found it got my creative juices flowing as each part of a given series grew beyond what I had originally intended for a single post. Having a lot of posts scheduled and lined up while you know you’ll be away from the Internet is a major stress relief!
Setting a schedule is really important. I usually schedule my blog posts two or three weeks ahead of time (with some flexibility) so that I don’t fall behind on posting. I’m also trying to build a reserve of stories in case I get super busy and am not able to write for awhile.
I was all over the place without a schedule, it’s stressful not to have one and try to keep up with blogging. Building that reserve is a good idea, the work upfront is worth it when you’re finding it difficult to write (or find decent Internet).
I agree that most posts are WAY too long! I’m definitely into breaking up posts. A lot of times I will make 4 posts out of 1 day!
It’s a good way to save your writing energy!