Backpacking around the world as a travel blogger takes a lot more work than what most would lead on to believe – after all, it’s not easy getting paid to travel and go on adventures every day.
But then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. But many wonder, what exactly does one do to create a professional travel blogging career?
You see people like myself traveling to amazing destinations, writing blog posts, making videos, and posting the most pristine of our exotic photos on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter nearly all the time just to fulfill the wanderlust within – a wanderlust that’s both a blessing and a curse.
But what is it that makes a successful travel blogger, a successful travel blogger? Where does most of our time go when we are actually sitting in front of the computer? What about when we are getting our content? How long do we sit in front of the computer compared to playing around?
I put this comprehensive blog post together to share with you a few insider secrets of a travel bloggers’ day-to-day life.
How I became a successful travel blogger
To be honest with you, travel blogging is ALL that it is made up to be…plus some! However, I’m sure that anyone in this line of work can agree with me when I say that at first, it’s all work and little play.
To build a successful travel blog requires months and sometimes years of hard work. During this time you try to build a deep database of content, acquire a good amount of traffic, and build a solid income…all while trying to become recognized professionally in your niche. Needless to say, this is no easy task!
Even with the ever growing amount of users on the internet today, you’ll be lucky to get 1,000 people on your website in an entire month when you first begin. As a travel blogger, you are constantly hovering over your analytics wondering if the number of unique users visiting your site will grow and, when that number drops, your beautiful day can go downhill – and quick.
But, just like any other entrepreneurial taking, you can’t give up, must go with your long term plan, and build a strategy that can eventually lead you on the road to success. Of course, as with any career, a little hand holding and guidance can go a long ways!
Step 1: Creating a Travel Blog
When I first began blogging back in June of 2011, it took me 6 months to make a single dime! During this time I was vacationing in Florida because I wanted to start this blog. I was constantly writing articles every 2-3 days, putting up videos of my previous travels, doing the whole social networking regime…you know the whole 9 yards! But as I rolled into month number 7, I got my first paid article making me a whopping $15! I was extremely stoked!
It wasn’t much, but after working for 6 months straight, not seeing a single dime that 15 dollars meant a lot to me! Shortly after that I made another $10 with another paid article…I was living the big life now! With this came the idea that there was actually potential in making a living off of this whole travel blogging thing and living my dream of becoming a full time traveler!
Step 2: Finding my blog niche
Thus began the process of research, research, research! I would say that on average, I spend nearly 20 percent of my time on the computer dedicating myself to doing research on how to optimize my website for the most traffic. As a blogger, you spend nearly as much time on other blogs as you do on yours just so that you can stay in the know and learn how to become a professional in your niche.
Whether it be reading other blogs, doing SEO optimization research (whether that be local SEO, enterprise SEO, or eCommerce SEO), leaving comments or various other things, you are constantly reading…the thing is that I love to read and if you want to become a full time travel blogger you must love reading too! As with any job, you must love doing what you do otherwise you just wont make it in the long haul. And I’m definitely no professional in cooking or any other niche but I would think that this goes for any blog.
Step 3: How Long Do I Spend Writing?
I would have to say that on average I spend about 15 percent of my time as a travel blogger actually doing that; blogging! You’d be surprised at how little time goes towards writing. Now, mind you that this percentage can change (as with any other quotes of time I give you in this article pending on each unique situation) but writing an article, reading it, re-reading it and then re-re-reading it only takes up about 15 percent of my time because most of my time goes towards social networking and well…playing!
This is about the same for making videos as well (minus the field time of course). By the time you edit each video clip, paste them together, add music and anything else that may be required to make it viewable for your fans, you are looking at around 3-4 hours of work…in one day.
Step 4: Making Yourself Known to the World!
Networking. So what do I mean when I say that I’m trying to make myself known to the world? Well, this can cover a broad range of topics including SEO optimization, leaving comments on other blogs, Facebook time, Twitter time, Youtube time (or any other social networking sites for that matter), chatting in forums, responding to emails, building a fan base, etc, etc, etc. I would say that a whopping 40 percent of my time goes towards social networking and putting my link up anywhere I can on the web! Crazy right?
But if you think about this, it makes lots of sense with how much time I spend networking. What’s the point of having a blog if you don’t have readers? Of course, you’d have a cool little diary of all your travels but why settle for cool when you can have KoolAid? (Catchy right) What I mean here is that in order to make money you have to have readers. In order to have readers, you need to network so people know you exist.
You can have the greatest content in the world but if you don’t have anyone to read it or any traffic going through your blog you won’t get advertisers…and without advertisers, you can’t make money to keep yourself on the road and doing what you love to do…travel!
Step 5: It’s all about presentation!
I would say that I spend a small proportion of my time actually designing or editing my websites pages, layout or widgets. Now at first, this is where all of my time went! Picking a good theme (or designing one), choosing adequate widgets, placing the best plugins, etc, etc.
When you are just starting up in the blogging world, a lot of time goes towards this but once you’re well established (like myself) you only spend about 5-10 percent of your time working on your site’s actual design. Why fix something that’s not broken, right?! All jokes aside, a visually appealing site can sometimes make or break or success as a travel blogger. No one wants to visit a website that is lined with fluorescent pink, green, yellow or any other ungodly flashy colors!
Of course you do have your exceptions, but for the most part stick with your base colors. They’re easy to digest and visually appealing to your readers. Remember that you want your readers to focus on your content, not that flashing link to the right side of your page saying “Donate Today!” that actually expresses how desperate you are for money!
Step 6: Work vs Play
So now we’re getting to the good stuff! How much time do I spend playing around? Surprisingly I spend a whopping 15 percent of my time actually enjoying the spoils of traveling! As other bloggers may disagree with my numbers (that’s because every blogger has a different “itinerary” to go by), I work on my blog approximately every other day…but of course this may change depending on if I’m doing more (or less) than usual.
So this translates that I play 1 day and work about 75 percent of the next and so on. Not too bad right? Most people nowadays work about 5 days a week and play only 2! Not that bad a trade up!
So is all the hard work worth it? The short, quick, and to the point answer is YES! After working for months setting up and building a decent fan base as well as designing the blog with absolutely no pay, now all have to do is enjoy my traveling! The hardest part out of the way, I can now spend my time writing and playing!
Although I still have to read other blogs, it’s something I totally enjoy! Learning about new places and their customs is personally entertaining plus I learn new locations I’d like to visit in the future! The bottom line being: travel blogging is the best job I’ve ever had!
Have you begun creating your own personal travel blog?