On Monday, I shared with you How to Start a Travel Blog in One Hour (or Less). Well, now that your travel blog is all set up and you feel comfortable creating and posting content, you’re ready to take your travel blog to the next level. Take a look at my 20 best tips to help you grow, succeed, even make money as a travel blogger. Good luck!
1. Get Set Up on Social Media. Go ahead and set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest so you can share posts, photos and advice from your travels. Add a profile to each one so your readers can learn more about you and your interests.
2. Join Facebook Groups. Seek out and join Facebook groups with like-minded bloggers, such as Family Travel Bloggers and Travel Bloggers. These are great resources when you have questions or are looking for blog- or destination-related advice or suggestions.
3. Follow Your Faves in an RSS Feed. Sign up for a free RSS news reader (I use Feedly) and add the feeds of your favorite travel blogs and news media. I often turn to my news feeds in Feedly for inspiration and to read up on the latest adventures of my blogger friends.
4. Attend Conferences. Conferences are a great way to meet and collaborate with fellow travel bloggers and travel brands. I suggest TBEX and Women in Travel Summit. Follow conference hashtags on Twitter before the events to see who’s going to set up networking meetings at the conferences.
5. Follow Conference Conversations. Whether or not you can attend a travel conference, follow the conversations and presentations, again by following event hashtags. Attendees often tweet out screenshots of presentation slides and key learnings from conference sessions.
6. Sign Up for Affiliate Programs. Many bloggers make money through affiliate programs. In other words, they make a percentage of a sale or a flat-rate commission when their readers make a purchase through their blogs. Affiliate networks to check out include Amazon, Commission Junction, Share-a-Sale and Escalate Network.
7. Participate in Twitter Chats. Weekly hour-long Twitter chats take place every day and at all hours. They are a fun way to interact with other bloggers and brands around set topics. Two to check out include #ExpediaChat and #TMOM. A PR rep found me in a chat and has invited me on several press trips.
8. Make it Easy for People to Contact You. If you want to work with other bloggers and brands on collaborations and paid opportunities, make it easy for them to connect with you. Hint: you need more than a contact form. You should also list your email address on your website.
9. Get a Branded Email Address. If you want to be taken seriously as a travel blogger, sign up with Google Apps to get your own branded email address (e.g., email@example.com). It’s super easy to get set up and the month-to-month fee is $5. You don’t want to be using a Hotmail or Yahoo email address.
10. Go to Local Networking Events. Get to know other travel bloggers and media in your town. Travel Massive hosts meet-ups in cities around the country and all over the world. Another great resource is Meetup, which lists meet-ups and get-togethers on all kinds of topics, including travel.
11. Write Guest Posts. You’ve probably read that writing guest posts is a great way to get back-links and more exposure for your travel blog. It’s also a good way to “meet” others in the travel space. But don’t limit yourself to blogs. MiniTime and USNews.com Travel work with budding travel writers, too.
12. Create a Media Kit. If you decide you want to work with travel brands to create sponsored content or host social media events, you’ll want to create a media kit that describes who you are and what you can offer the brand in terms of reach and exposure. Here is my media kit.
13. Sign Up for Influencer Programs. Companies like IZEA, Mom Central and LinkVehicle enable you to make money as a travel blogger by creating and sharing sponsored content on their blogs and social media. Be sure to comply with FTC guidelines and disclose sponsored relationships when applicable.
14. Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Optimized. The majority of my readers are coming to Kidventurous from mobile phones and tablets, so I’m now working with PadSquad to ensure the best experience on mobile devices. As a bonus, PadSquad is helping me make money as a travel blogger through mobile ads, too.
15. Get Into Media and Blogger Databases. PR reps use databases, like Cision, Bloggers Required and GroupHigh, to find media and bloggers that would be a good fit for their news, even press events and media trips. So you’d be wise to add your name, blog name and contact details.
16. Keep Up With Fellow Travel Bloggers. Follow your favorite travel blogs, then check in with the bloggers from time to time or interact with them in Facebook groups. Being top-of-mind with other bloggers is a great way to form collaborations or be considered for opportunities down the road.
17. Get the Right Plugins. For WordPress users, there are a lot of great plugins you should add to make your website more engaging and valuable to brands. A few of my favorites include: Google Analytics by Yoast, Broken Link Checker, LinkWithin, Pinterest Article Rich Pins and AA’s Digg Digg Alternative.
18. Introduce Yourself to PR Reps. Identify brands of interest to you and introduce yourself to PR reps. Look at press releases on PR Web and reach out to PR contacts to introduce yourself and your blog. Many brands also have online newsrooms with media contact details. Also, ask to be added to media lists.
19. Attend Industry Media Events. Industry media events, such as VEMEX (Visit Europe Media Exchange) and those hosted by CLIA (Cruise Lines Industry Association), are wonderful opportunities to meet PR reps with travel brands. Let reps know what you can offer and follow up after your meetings.
20. Create Professional Business Cards. Have professional-looking business cards created for your blog that includes, at the very least, your name, blog name, URL, email address and phone number. I use Vistaprint to print out my business cards. A lot of people like Moo, too. You should be able to find an inexpensive designer on Fiverr.
If you have any questions about to make money as a travel blogger, feel free to drop me a line. I’m always happy to help out a fellow travel blogger or travel blogger to-be! 🙂