A picture is worth a thousand words!
A travel blog without photos is not attractive. Each post needs to be accompanied with at least one spectacular photograph so that people have the visual reference corresponding with your textual description right there.
There are two things that you need to keep in mind before starting your travel blog. Firstly, start a travel blog only and only if you travel. Don't take information from the Internet and write articles based on that. Only travel blogs with firsthand information are trusted. See the place yourself and then write about it. It makes a huge difference. Secondly, you need to have some concrete experience in traveling to start a blog. You'll end up making too many mistakes otherwise. Having said that, we'll now start with 12 great tips for starting your own travel blog.
1. Write down your reasons for starting the blog.
Why is it that you want to start a travel blog? The reasons can be several. Maybe you want to keep your friends updated about your travels (in case you're traveling frequently), you want to help fellow travelers to travel smarter, or you want to jubilantly discuss the beauties of this world that you've had the opportunity to explore. Maybe you want to do all the above. Writing down the reasons will give you clarity of thought, a direction, and a purpose. This way you'll know what your aim is. You see, starting a blog is not a big deal. But maintaining it with regular post uploads can get a little tiresome after a point. The zest with which you start a blog begins to ebb and the enthusiasm dwindles. However, if you have clear reasons etched in your mind for starting the blog, this gradual creeping in of disinterest can be combated to a good extent. Having a direction always helps with the motivation factor.
2. Decide what you want to write and for whom.
Now that you know why you're starting the blog, make a list of things you want to cover in your writing. Every blog MUST have a focus. Do you want to give your readers stories? These would cover your experiences during your travels. Do you want to tell your readers about places? This would cover information about a specific place (what to do, eat, and expect) and will have less focus on personal experiences. This way you'll be telling your readers what to expect from your blog in the "About Me" section right at the start. If people are interested in knowing more about different places, and find you narrating more about your personal experiences in spite of having promised otherwise, they might feel cheated somehow. They should know what you are offering and then take a call on whether your blog can help their cause or not. Be very clear about what you want to concentrate on and pursue it with a great amount of attention to detail. Know which section of Internet readers you wish to convert into steady followers. Once you've decided on these two factors, tapping trends and optimally utilizing them to your benefit will become a cakewalk.
3. Name your blog intelligently.
Now that you have a clear picture about why and what you want to write, think of a name for your blog. The name has to stand out and also convey the objective or at least the very essence of your blog. It's very important for the reader to at least get a hint of what he can expect from your blog. The name should be conspicuous and catchy; it should be easy for people to remember. It should induce intrigue so that people are compelled to at least read a few lines, just to see what's it all about. A long, confusing name will not only be difficult to remember but also lead to you losing out on potential repeat visitors.
4. Talk to frequent travelers, visit other travel blogs, and understand the value of your work.
Before you start writing or implementing things on your blog, talk to travelers and see what they expect from travel blogs. This will give you a rough idea about general expectations. Simultaneously, check out other travel blogs. Make a list of things they do to engage their readers. Also make a list of interesting and intriguing elements on their blogs. Amidst all that is available on the net, try to visualize how your work will add value. How will you be different? It's very important to do something unique. If your blog is not unique and ends up being very similar to those already out there, it will be nearly impossible for you to make a mark. See, being inspired and incorporating an element in your blog will not be considered as a copy only when you add your personal interpretation of the element. That you have the power to analyze things in your own way is what people should be able to figure out from your blog.
5. Be sure of certain choices you make; they're long-term.
Some of the changes you make or some things that you implement on your blog are long-term. For example, the website that'll host your blog. Shifting websites later will not only add to your work, but also play a role in your rankings on search engines. Similarly, your logo, which will play a great role in establishing your identity, will also be long-term. The URL you choose for your blog will also last forever as this is what your readers are going to remember. Every element that you add to your blog, do it after a lot of thought. Don't do anything in a hurry, especially things that you aren't sure of.
6. Don't let the numbers get you down.
Initially, not many people will visit your blog. Maybe your friends, family, and a few colleagues. It will take sometime for search engines to crawl the content for your blog to show up on search engine results. This will take a while. In the meantime, do not let the number of visitors affect your efforts. You might feel a little depressed seeing shallow figures, but it is only your efforts that will pay off in the long run. Keep at it and stick to the plan you've designed for yourself. Slowly and steadily your readers will grow in number, stuff on your blog will be shared, and you will see an upward trend in popularity.
7. Don't let your posting frequency fluctuate; post consistently and regularly.
Your posts are your marketing tools. With every post that you publish, you give yourself another opportunity to market your blog. However, don't overdo it. Don't have 14 posts in a week. Your readers should get ample time to catch up on what you've written. They should not feel as though they've missed a lot and have to spend too much time in reading all the older posts. Post consistently; have 2 posts every week or even one will suffice. Always try to post on the same days in a week.
8. Develop an understanding of social media.
Social media is the best tool you can put to use if you want to reach out to people. Websites like Facebook and Twitter don't charge anything when you create a page with them. Of course, for further marketing and promotion, you're expected to pay some money. Hunt for such viable avenues and tap them. Before using them, understand how they work, list down how they can help you in the long run, make a plan of how you're going to use them, and only then create your social profiles on them. Just like your blog, your social profiles also need to be active and engaging. Go social yourself before using this medium for your blog. Try to add pictures and/or videos with every post that you write. These enhance the visual look of your blog and increase the probability of it being shared on social channels. Have social buttons which will enable your readers to share your content.
9. Don't just decide on a sum; calculate how much you are willing to spend.
Most of the time, we just calculate a basic figure we're going to spend on a project. As time passes, more expenses come up and sometimes very obvious ones that we tend to miss at first. Once you have written down all that you want for your blog, calculate how much they're going to cost you for a year. Have this capital ready before you start. This way, you can concentrate on your work without much disturbance and stress when it comes to the financials.
10. Spend a good amount of time finalizing the look of your blog.
Readers develop a visual memory with certain brands. The basic theme colors you use will help readers to associate them with your brand. The look of your blog will be remembered more than your writing more often than not. Apart from this, the width of your posts should be finalized keeping in mind the attention span of readers; extremely short posts are not taken seriously and long ones come across as chunky and boring. You have to get the look just right. Certain fonts play a major role in attention span retention. Blogging is not only about writing well and writing profusely, but also about visually engaging your readers. You could consider it to be textual dramatics, if you will. So, employ all the resources you can dig up in trying out as many permutations and combinations as you can think of before zeroing in on one that seems made for you. Also, read up on the concepts of blogging in order to build your own brand of writing. For instance, if certain posts need to be of a length that is slightly on the longer side, employ techniques like inserting colorful images between paragraphs in order to break the visual monotony of words. You can also use HTML to insert colorful boxes with interesting trivia in them after every second paragraph. Knowing these things can actually help you to develop a style of your own.
11. Develop your understanding of technical know-how.
Technical know-how of platforms you are using is of utmost importance. This will determine the ease with which you'll work and the number of mistakes you make once you have launched your blog. If you don't know certain elements, functions, or software, read about them. Experiment with them after you've done your study and get better at working with them. Do this before you start posting on your blog to lessen the number of catastrophes.
12. Do your homework about SEO and keywords.
The best way to initially get readers to your blog is through SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which basically deals with the use of keywords. It's a vast function and you need to start reading up on it immediately. The basic advice is to not use too many keywords, not use them unnaturally, and to not use them unethically. Spamming might even result in penalization of your blog. Read up as much as you can about SEO on websites, forums, and discussion panels.
These tips for starting your own travel blog will not only help you to work smarter, but also ensure that your readers get the very best from you. Travel writers have started surfacing in considerable numbers in the last decade. It is a good idea to start now and make a name for yourself and your blog. Best of luck.