Blogging is a very competitive industry. A lot of people don’t consider this when starting a blog that they intend to monetise, but soon come to realise that it can be a rough gig!
During the first two years of this blog (back when it was Rhiannon Travels – a travel blog), more and more people started up their own travel blog. I personally started mine because I love to write, and wanted a place to share my own travel experiences. Though there were lots of travel blogs online already, there weren’t many for the type of traveller I was writing for.
I searched for a long time, reading through all of the how to start a blog articles I could find, determined to have as much info as I could before I hit publish. I figured if I was gonna do this, I might as well do it right.
Well, as it turns out, I only thought I had knew everything. There are so many things that I would change, if I could do this whole starting a blog thing over again. I’m gonna tell you what those things are, too. To hopefully help you avoid them, and be set up for success from the start.
Table of Contents
- 11 Tips For New Bloggers
- 1. Choose a suitable name and host
- 2. Optimise the design of your blog
- 3. Ensure your blog is easy to read and navigate
- 4. Create attractive and informative Pins
- 5. Share and be active on social media
- 6. Be consistent and post regularly
- 7. Optimise posts for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- 8. Utilise Google Analytics to track your progress
- 9. Always update and improve on old posts
- 10. Motivation is key
- 11. Have patience and determination
- Pin for later!
11 Tips For New Bloggers
1. Choose a suitable name and host
Back when I first started Rhiannon Travels, I signed up with Wix. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Wix. It’s just not the best host for a travel blog. Wix is created more with photographers and graphic artists in mind, as it is a very visually focussed website. WordPress is the way to go if you are planning to start any kind of blog – especially a travel blog.
When you first join WordPress, you’ll be given a Free Account. For access to all sorts of awesome traffic building features, you’ll need to purchase yourself a dot com or similar domain, and host your blog with a company such as Siteground or Bluehost. I’m personally on a self-hosted domain with Siteground. This means, I own Rhiannon Travels. No one can take it away from me, or delete my blog without telling me. I’m in control, and I love that.
Before purchasing a domain, you’ll need to choose the name of your blog. This is a very important step. Think of your blog name as your brand. If you intend on monetising your blog later down the track (which basically means you’ll make money from various aspects of blogging), you need a name that can help you grow. Something memorable, relatively unique and that ties in with what you plan to write about.
Here’s an example: If you plan to start a blog in which you’ll predominately be talking about budget travel tips for a family of four, you’ll need to come up with a blog name that is, in one way or another, linked to that niche (or topic). Something that will inform new readers right away, what your blog and content is about.
I went with Rhiannon Travels as my name and brand, because I wanted my blog to have a personal touch – I wanted myself to be my brand. My blog’s tagline, if you will, is helping you travel the world with ease. The reason and essentially my goal in choosing this particular tagline, was ensuring new visitors to my blog would straight away know how guide-focussed and useful my blog is!
Tip: Make sure your chosen blog name is available on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. More on social media later in this post, but ensuring these social media platforms are available, is important! If it isn’t available on one or more, consider thinking of a different blog name.
2. Optimise the design of your blog
Generally speaking, visually attractive and easy to read blogs tend to do better. This is especially the case with a responsive blog/website design. This basically means: having a blog that works on a laptop, mobile phone and tablet. Having a mobile friendly blog or website is the best way to increase traffic, attract new readers and all round be more successful. Think about all those times you’ve Googled something. You may not even notice, but more often than not, the search results take you to websites or blogs that have been optimised for viewing on a mobile device. So, when you’re doing some research from your iPhone or Android phone, you don’t need to zoom in. The pages, links, menus and photos look perfect and easy to read, right in your hand!
Personally, I like blogs and websites that have large, easy to read font sizes and styles. Small text isn’t advised, especially on very text heavy websites, such as travel blogs. Your reader needs to be able to easily understand what you’re talking about, and if they have to pinch their phone screen to zoom in, you more than likely won’t get a return reader. Larger fonts also attract a broader range of readers.
Creating a colour scheme is also important, and helps to establish your brand even further. Choose a theme that allows you to optimise your brand and colour scheme. A simple, two column blog/sidebar style theme works well, as do single column themes without a sidebar.
This is one of my favourite tips for new travel bloggers. I am always thinking of new ways to improve the ease of navigation of Rhiannon Travels. How can I make my readers’ experience easier, leading them to what they want to know, faster? I’m a big fan of having plenty of internal links. So, on my home page, I’ve got an image link to four of the most popular categories or topics that I write about. I then have a grid of my latest posts. Then, at the bottom of my home page (and every other page) I have a footer, which has a link to each main topic.
When designing the home page of your website or blog, think about ways to optimise ease of navigation. Do you have each of the cities you have visited, on a destinations page? How about an about me and contact page? Those are super important, especially if you would like to one day, make money from your blog.
If you focus on theme parks, do you have an easy to find page, with all of your theme park posts and guides? For those foodies reading this, do you have a foodie category? A place where fellow foodies can go, for all of the delicious places to visit during their travels?
Before you hit that publish button, ensure your blog is easy to read, navigate and has good flow. Not only will you get a ton more page views (more on that soon), but you’ll also potentially gain regular readers and supporters of your blog and your brand.
4. Create attractive and informative Pins
Something I’ve learned from the wonderful Facebook group Female Travel Bloggers, is Pinterest is key for regular blog traffic and readers. Think of Pinterest as a visual Google Search. It’s sort of in between a search engine and social media platform. You can type in almost anything, and Pinterest will provide you with (sometimes) beautiful graphics and almost exclusively vertical images.
Pinterest graphics (or pins in the blogging world) are very popular, and are the main source of blog/website traffic for a large majority of travel bloggers. Pinterest is currently my first largest source of blog traffic, with Google organic search coming in as a close second (more on that later).
The best way to create stunning, eye catching pins is on Canva. There’s even a Pinterest graphic template to get you started, until you become more comfortable and experimental. Vertical is best for Pinterest graphics, espeicially linking to an informative travel blog post. I create and design my Pins on Canva, and use the dimensions 735px (width) by 1400px (length).
Social media is crucial for a successful travel blog, especially at the beginning. Before publishing your first post, jump onto the major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and sign up. You should have already made sure your blog name is available on each of these platforms, so simply create your account and start following some fellow travel bloggers! A good way to get started is by doing a Google search for travel bloggers, or search within Instagram and Facebook.
Staying active and consistent on Facebook and Instagram is important, for different reasons. Facebook is a great source of blog traffic. Especially in the travel world. Think of all the blog posts and website articles that you read, talking about a new city you’ve never heard of. You’re definitely not the only person reading that post. All it takes is you tagging one friend in that page’s video, and they’ve got themselves a ton more potential readers. It’s that simple! Facebook is golden for blog traffic – you just have to know how to use it!
Instagram is a totally different ball game. Sometimes, it makes me pull my hair out. Other days, I forget it even exists, because I’ve blocked it out of my mind. However, on the odd occasion, it can actually turn into something awesome. There are tons of Instagram Travel Influencers out there, making a living by travelling the world and posting about it on Instagram. Of course, there’a lot of hard work in the middle, but you get my point.
Basically: Social media is important, especially in this day and age. Wow, I sound old.
6. Be consistent and post regularly
Being consistent and posting regularly is important, especially when you’re just starting out as a travel blogger. Say you attract five regular new readers during your first month of being a published travel blogger. If you don’t post for a week, you could potentially lose one or more of those regular readers. Regular readers tell their friends about all of the awesome travel tips they’re learning. Posting regularly, consistently and at the same time each week, ensures you keep those regular readers. If they’re anticipating your next post, you should definitely deliver.
This is even more important if you plan to, one day, make money from your blog. Being consistent is key, and you will gain trust with not only your regular readers, but anyone new to your blog as well. Set yourself a schedule, to have a post published once or twice a week, during your first 3 months as a travel blogger. This will get your writing out there and make Google happy.
7. Optimise posts for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Optimising SEO is one of the best tips for new travel bloggers I can share. SEO (or Search Engine Optimisation) is the number one key when it comes to constant blog or website traffic. Optimising each post for SEO is a sure-fire way to rank on the first one or two pages of Google, which is where you want to be! Of course, like anything else in life that is worthwhile, optimising posts for SEO takes time. It took me at least six months before I even realised that SEO was a thing – and a thing I was doing horribly wrong, at that.
When writing a new post, think of what you would search for on Google, if you were looking for the topic you’re going to write about. For example, if you’re writing about things to do in Australia, that’s exactly what you would title your post: Things to Do in Australia. I know if I was researching some of the Australian activities, that’s exactly what I’d type into Google!
Sometimes it’s better to think as a reader, instead of a blogger. Optimise your blog post for the phrase in which you would search for on Google yourself!
Once you’ve chosen your blog title, use that as your page URL and keyword. Yoast is a good way to track SEO optimisation, especially for beginners. Write your blog title (i.e. things to do in Australia) in multiple places throughout your article. This will make it easier for Google to pick up your blog, and therefore help you to grow faster in the world of Organic Search traffic!
8. Utilise Google Analytics to track your progress
One of the most important steps in creating your travel blog, is signing up for Google Analytics. This is how you can track where traffic to your blog is coming from; how many page views you’re getting per day, week, month and year; where your readers are from and much more. To start using Google Analytics, click here then sign up using your blog’s URL and follow the prompts. Google Analytics is a great way to ensure your blog is growing, gaining readers and allows you to target your content for the right audience.
For example: Most of my readers come from the United States. So because of that, I focus a lot of my tips and advice (mainly currency and conversions) for US readers.
9. Always update and improve on old posts
This is something I’ve only started doing recently, but is super important. Over time, data will change and information will need to be updated. Your writing will also improve and grow, the more you write and learn about the world of travel blogging. Going back over old blog posts and updating your writing, Pinterest graphics and any links or facts you’ve included, is great for SEO purposes.
Over the last few months, I’ve gone over all of my old blog posts updating the content, Pinterest graphics, information and style of writing. Since I started Rhiannon Travels over a year ago, my writing has changed a lot. I’ve improved a great deal on the way I structure my writing, and have learned a lot over the last twelve months. Updating old blog posts is super important, and can do wonders for your traffic and SEO!
10. Motivation is key
Sometimes, being a travel blogger is frustrating. It can sometimes be hard finding the motivation to write, especially when life gets in the way. The first few months of travel blogging are crucial (if you intend on making a living from your blog, or being successful in the field). You’ll need to work your butt off for months on end, publish blog posts frequently and make the time to write.
Having motivation is the best way to ensure you start your blogging adventure on the right foot. Sometimes you won’t want to sit down for multiple hours in a day writing or editing photos, and that’s okay. Take a break every now and then, and schedule some time off. Motivation is important, but so is balance – even in the world of travel blogging!
11. Have patience and determination
Last but not least, it’s important to have patience and determination. You will not gain 10,000 page views overnight. Your social media followers won’t skyrocket to the millions in one week. Working hard and having patience, is the best way to achieve success. It took me over a year to reach my first 10,000 monthly page views. My stats have taken a huge downfall over the past few weeks, and that’s made it hard for me to find the determination and motivation to keep going. But writing about travel, sharing my experiences and helping people just like you, travel the world with ease, is what I love doing!
You need to find that determination within yourself, even during the difficult and frustrating times throughout your travel blogging journey. Put in the effort, remain motivated, and you’ll be rewarded!
I hope these tips for new travel bloggers have helped in one way or another! Whether you’re simply looking into the idea of starting a travel blog, or you’ve taken the first step and come up with a name for your blog and brand, I hope these tips help you to succeed right from the start!
Are you trying to decide whether or not to start a travel blog? Have these tips for new travel bloggers helped you made that decision? Tell me in the comments below, and feel free to ask me any questions you may have, that I haven’t covered in this post!
Last minute tip: Submitting guest posts to be published on fellow travel bloggers’ blogs, is a great way to get your name out there! I am currently accepting guest posts to Rhiannon Travels. Head here to learn more, and send me a message!
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