Not all travel blogs earn money.
Let’s get that clear up front. There are many travel bloggers on the Internet and yes some are earning a decent amount of money while others struggle to get traffic, never mind earn an income. However, if you love to write and have something to share that others are interested in you may do well. What can you do to increase the chances of your success?
You need a specific niche
The word niche floats around the Internet a lot by online marketers and business people who try to create something exclusive that people are looking for. A niche based on just travel is much too broad. There are already hundreds or maybe thousands of people who have travel blogs but the ones who are successful are the ones who have fine-tuned their niche into something specific. RV travel is definitely a niche but is probably considered to be still too broad of a topic. Some examples of more specific RV travel blog niches:
- Full-time RVing
- Campground Reviews
- Traveling with Children
You could probably fine-tune the niche even more:
- Full-time RVing for the younger generation
- RVing on a tight budget
- Boondocking your way across America
You probably get the picture. Try to stay with your niche’s topic on your blog, so you will become the go-to person for information on your niche.
This is the name used to identify your blog. Give your domain name a great deal of thought and make sure it represents your niche. Other things to consider:
- Easy to pronounce
- Easy to spell
- Try and include keywords in the domain name. For example if your niche is about RVing on a Budget – come up with a catchy phrase that is memorable – something like, ‘rvingonthecheap.com’ or a name that people will remember. I don’t even know if that name is available but if it is and it fits your niche grab it.
Do a search on a domain registration site like Google to see if anyone else is using the same name and if it’s not available move on to your next choice. Once you have a name picked out register it and start working on where you will have your travel blog hosted. This is now your domain name exclusively and no one else can use it – as long as you pay for the registration each year.
For those who may not understand what hosting is – think of it as an RV Park where you park your rig. The hosting service is where you will park your registered domain name (your Rig). Your travel blog will live here and you pay rent either monthly or yearly. There are many hosting services on the Internet so do a review of them reading what others have to say about their service before signing up. I am going to shamelessly give my business a plug here – I do offer hosting and domain registration through my business Lorac Virtual Solutions.
Create a WordPress website/blog
Not to confuse wordpress.org with wordpress.com please. Both are free but… wordpress.org is used in conjunction with a registered domain name and hosting service giving you complete control over your travel blog. If in the future you choose to monetize your blog and wish to earn money from it then this is the way to go.
WordPress is publishing software that is easy to use and has a very active community available for anyone needing information or assistance. Did I mention – it’s free! Although there are premium templates available for purchasing, the free templates are perfectly acceptable for anyone just starting out.
Once you have a domain name registered and have signed up with a hosting company you have many options for creating your blog. This may include hiring a developer or you can do it yourself with a little bit of work.
The hosting service will probably provide you with a Cpanel (control panel) which is where you control everything that happens on your website or blog. Most hosting services allow you to use WordPress to create the blog and will provide instructions and videos as to how to upload it and customize your theme.
Once your blog is set-up the fun part starts – you get to design it the way you want and add whatever content is important to your niche.
Blogging is actually the articles or posts you write to put on your travel blog. These probably include photos and links to relevant information your readers want to know. The idea around the blogging is to have people sign up and receive updates on your blog whenever you post them. You want to build up a subscriber list of readers and to do this you need to provide valuable content they are looking for. The blog is not about you – it’s what you can offer to others.
Scheduling your blog
Don’t think of it as a chore. When I’m travelling I usually update my diary every morning, documenting what I did the day before. Updating your travel blog can be done the same way: daily, weekly or whenever you have something important or interesting to share.
You will quickly realize that if you are sharing good information your readers are checking your RV travel blog regularly and are anxious for your news.
Plus ~ your family and friends are interested as well. They all want to know what exciting things you are seeing and how much fun you are having. That’s a good enough reason to take the time to set up your travel blog before you leave home. It’s worth the effort.
Being friends with Google
You want people to find your site and you must stay compliant with Google’s ever-changing rules. In the process of growing your subscriber list you will learn more about SEO (search engine optimization) where you optimize your blog to encourage traffic. More traffic means more subscribers, which may eventually convert into residual income. Let’s not go there yet though.
The most important steps are to have your blog set-up and put some very good content on it and encourage people to subscribe. There are all kinds of email servers available both free and paid that can be incorporated into your site for tracking your followers.
Your email list is very important. These are the people who want your information and hear about your travels or what you have to say about your niche. These are also the people who will eventually buy any products you may sell or recommend in the future. They may eventually be part of a paid membership group. There are all kinds of ways to monetize this list but first you have to provide value to them, have them sign up and continue to provide something they need or want. There are free email services and a very popular paid service is Aweber, which use but some of the free ones like mail chimp are perfectly acceptable.
Not only will you gain traffic by having people find you through keyword searches on Google you need to connect with your target niche through Social Media. This may include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or other networks of interest to people in your niche. Join some of these networks and get involved in them. Don’t spam though by just trying to promote your stuff – be helpful, get to know people and eventually become known to them. Once they are comfortable with you they’ll come to you or your travel blog for information. You need to build their trust.
To make any money from your travel blog you must have lots of traffic and that may be 5,000 or 150,000 unique visitors to your site. Before worrying too much about making any money it’s important to establish yourself first. Get your blog created with content of value and then start monetizing.
I’ll come back later and discuss ways of monetizing your travel blog but first get it set up, established and start creating a list of followers.