How To Create A Successful Travel Blog

When you start writing, you do it because you love doing it. But don’t we all just want to do what we love? Yes, the bills need to get paid of course, but there is nothing better than working at something you have created yourself, out of passion, out of love. Well, that’s what happened with Wander-Lust. It started with a crazy idea and grew into something that I could not have dreamed of. A successful travel blog.

A few weeks ago I talked about how I became a fulltime travel blogger and I noticed that a lot of people had more questions after the article. All very positive (thanks for that!) but there are certainly more tips that I can give you so you head in the path of successful blogging.

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Elke & Sarah

Set Up Your Blog On WordPress
Many of you already know this but when you first start, you may not have a clue just like I did. I was a WordPress dummie and believe me, I’m still learning! Go and buy yourself a theme and don’t go for one of those free versions because they will give you headaches in the end when you want to expand. At themeforrest there are many options but ask around and compare the idea in your head with the themes you see online. We used the Brooklyn Theme but changed it around to suit our needs. Think before you do this as it may slow down your website! Also, add content onto your blog so you don’t start with an empty website when you go live.

Invest Time & Money
When I started Wander-Lust with Sarah, we didn’t have a lot of time but we made sure we made time. We worked into the early hours to get it right. Thank god we had so many articles in our heads ready to be written! We also didn’t have a great deal to spend but we did it anyway. When you want a professional blog, you need to look it. Yes, it starts with the theme but also your server host, plugins you may need and any technical support. We saved a lot of money by getting friendly people to help us for a trade of lunch or gifts. Also, if you want to become a travel blogger, you need to get your hands on a good camera to shoot your pictures. We both use the Olympus PEN and OMD camera’s but I am also making most of my photo’s with my Samsung Galaxy S7 phone. (almost all our Instagram photo’s are made with this phone)

Get Your Social Media Game On
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and more. Start creating accounts for all of these platforms and make sure they look good. (use the same filter for example) It all starts with your header picture, name and description. Social Media is important because this way you will grow your audience to your blog. We started out with Instagram because we are very visual but find out what platform works best for you. Facebook is still great for gaining traffic to your blog so keep some budget aside to promote your page in order to gain more likes. 

Social Media Wander-Lust

Connect with Fellow Travel Bloggers
This may seem a bit weird at first but don’t be scared, travel bloggers are really nice people! 😉 It’s good to learn from each other plus you will also make a bunch of new friends! Sarah and I met a lot of nice bloggers over the years and we even collaborate with some of them now! How to get in touch? Well, you will meet them at PR events most of the time but if you’re just starting out, you can just reach out via Social Media and ask them for a coffee or advice!

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Connect with fellow bloggers (Elke with @MrsJamieli and Lotte from @beautify)

Be Different
This doesn’t always mean that you need to have a niche but it means you bring something fresh to the table. Find your writing style, your layout, your photo filter on social media and get people to recognize your blog. Try to be better in everything that has been written before. Yes, many people have visited Los Angeles, but make your story 10 times more interesting. How? That’s totally up to you. Be creative and find your style.

Set A Goal For Yourself But Be Realistic
Setting a new blogging goal is a good idea but be realistic about it because getting a successful travel blog doesn’t happen overnight. My goal was as follows; Get at least 600 people to read my blog in the first week. That seems like a lot but spam the hell out of your friends and family and trust me, it will happen. Now, if your content is good and your blog looks like a million dollars, people will read it again. Another goal could be to get your first press trip within 1 year. Work towards it by gaining followers, creating a smashing Media Kit and meeting with PR Agencies within your region. Find the relevant agencies by checking their client list so you know if they represent any travel related brands that suit your blog.

Travel and Share Tips!
Well, you didn’t see that one coming right? 😉 Yes, if you want to be a travel blogger you need to travel as much as you possibly can. In the beginning it’s hard but if it’s your passion, you will spend all of your free days abroad anyways so you might as well write about it. Check if you still have stories to tell about your previous adventures so you have a start ahead. Share as many tips as possible, your readers are not just interested about you but need to feel like they gained some new information after reading your blogpost. 

I hope these tips will help and get you that successful travel blog you’ve been dreaming of! And maybe the most important tip: never forget to enjoy it. We travel for love, at least I do.

Love,

Elke

Read Elke’s story on how she became a professional travel blogger here:
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How I Became a Full Time Travel Blogger

If traveling is your passion, the job description of a travel blogger has to be something you would totally go for, right? It’s been about 5 years since Sarah and I started with our Instagram account @wanderlust.nl and 6 months later our baby Wander-Lust was born. Now I travel to a new destination about once a month, making a living out of the one thing I love the most.

This is my personal journey on how I became a full time travel blogger.

So how did I go from dreaming to reality?

Honestly, I never had the ambition to become a travel blogger. It just happened and I think that’s my secret. I’m the kind of girl who follows her heart and that’s always taken me to the right places, at the right time. I just did what I wanted or loved to do. I wanted to move to London when I was 17 years old, so I did. No big deal. (now I think it was quite a big deal but at the time it felt so normal) So in that aspect, I have always been trustworthy of my intuition, my heart and the goals that came along with it. I always enjoyed writing but I never followed a study in journalism. Somehow I just decided to try it. The traveling part has always been a part of my life so it wasn’t long before it only made sense to put these two passions together. Also, I never thought; I can’t do this. Always think you should try, or try harder.

Time is key

So how do you start a professional travel blog? Well, apart from buying a WordPress theme, website name and a slick business card, you need to put a lot of time and effort into your blog. I worked a full time job so all my evening hours were spend with Wander-Lust. No exceptions during the weekend. I had less time for my friends, date night with boyfriend or dinners. But eventually it started to pay off. Our website was finished, our newsletter was written and we went LIVE. A scary moment but wow, so many people visited our website that day! We must have done something right because the same day we received an email from a Dutch magazine who wanted to interview us about our favorite spots in Amsterdam. We couldn’t believe it. People liked it!

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I’m still pinching myself at every destination I go to

The real deal started after this day. We needed to produce content and get to know our followers. What do they like? How are we going to get Google to like us and add us on the first page? How are we going to reach our first 10.000 unique visitors, or even 2000?! All questions we didn’t know the answer to. But after a few months and lot’s of trials, we started to notice an increase of traffic. Our social media was growing (Instagram and Facebook) and we heard people talking about our blog.

Become professional

There are a few things you need to do to get it right and fit in with the big boys so to speak.

  • Get yourself a Logo and some Business cards. Stand out but keep it classy. Your logo will reflect your blog. 
  • Create a media kit. This has all your information tucked into one. Your reach might not be so high at this point but showing pr agencies that you have put the effort into a media kit, shows your professionalism.
  • Call/Email PR Agencies and introduce yourself. The best thing is to invite yourself for a coffee so they can meet you face to face. Have your elevator pitch ready and have an answer to the question; Why is your travel blog different from all the others?
  • Visit Events. As soon as PR Agencies start to notice you, you will receive some invitations. Go. Especially in the beginning. Network your ass off but stay real. Meet fellow travel bloggers and learn from them, be inspired. Write about the brand or the event afterwards (if you liked it) so they will add you on the list next time. 

“I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money”

Start Making Money as a Travel Blogger

It might sound cliché but I didn’t become a travel blogger because I wanted to earn shit loads of money. If that was my goal, I would have become a dentist. No, I started Wander-Lust because I freaking love anything to do with travel. This passion makes me want to work long hours without taking a break. I was lucky to have saved some money before I decided to leave my job and focus on my travel blog. This allowed me to spend all my hours on my blog and not having to worry about paying my rent. After a few months we started to get a few paid assignments through our social media and soon after we got our first press trip. That was the moment when we realized; wow, we are actually traveling for work. 

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We started writing for ELLE which helped us to gain a greater audience

Treat Your Blog as a Serious Job

Create enough content for people to read. We started with 3 articles per week but now we do 5. Some bloggers even post 3 articles a day! More content means more traffic. We got featured by a few websites who mentioned us as one of the nicest travel blogs or Instagram accounts. Besides this we also got the opportunity to start writing for ELLE.NL and other platforms. That meant a lot to us and it certainly got noticed. More press trips followed and now we even get paid to travel.

Don’t feel bad to ask for a fee. Treat your blog as such and it will turn into a serious job.

You have to see it as a serious job because if I go on a press trip, I don’t have the time to work on other content and I won’t be able to take on other assignments. Organisations pay me because I actually do a lot of work. I write an article (sometimes 2), use my social media channels, edit video’s and always put in my best efforts. If you are asked to go on a press trip, it’s because you’re doing something right. 

Wander-Lust still has a long way to go, but I am proud of where we stand today. From nothing, we created a place where we can hopefully inspire people to travel, explore destinations and places they haven’t been before and live life to the max. I firmly believe that you should use your experience to help others to reach their goals so please drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions about becoming a travel blogger!

Love,

Elke

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