12 Secrets of a professional travel blogger

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12 Secrets of a professional travel blogger

There are quite a few travel bloggers who will tell their hectic tales about the life of a blogger and of their passion for blogging that has taken flight. Having a professional travel blog is not always a delight contrary to popular belief! The ups and downs, the hard and the easy, the fun and awful, the rich and the poor sides all combine in a quest for the brave entrepreneurial heart that manages to keep steady in turbulent waters.

So why become a professional travel blogger? Many bloggers will tell you that it’s a born passion. Creating and developing a travel blog obviously requires passion, tenacity and a lot of work. Yet it also requires an assortment of new skills that one does not always suspect when embarking on this adventure as a hobby. If passion has long animated you, it is rather the doubt that dominates henceforth and constantly dwells on the back of your mind. Doubts about the usefulness of the work. Doubt about the meaning of the approach and duties. Doubt about economic survival. Doubt about the ability to know how to guard against the disappointments inherent in any human experience. You want the magic recipe to become a blogger in 12 lessons? So read this article and you will have all the necessary ingredients …

1. You’ll scratch your head…

…a lot! Because you’ll have to be original. Do not you know? Blogs, there are thousands, even millions. And you think that yours will baffle everyone in 2 minutes even if it has to crawl its way above the background noise of all the others? Reality will hit you like MACK truck! Think long and hard about the design of your blog, what story you will tell, the name you want to give it and the photos you will post in it. It may seem simple, but in fact, making something unique and captivating is like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, do not lose hope just yet: yours could have some unique photographic work, a different tone or niche profile, some obscure stories about unknown places. You see, ideas are not lacking! It’s up to you to implement them. If you have ideas in galore then write them down and don’t forget to ask others for help.

Your friends and loved ones could give you some very interesting points of view that you haven’t thought about however, don’t forget that there are a lot of negative people out there so make sure you don’t let them stifle your enthusiasm. From the experience of other bloggers, about a month of hard thinking should be enough; put all the ideas on paper and get to work. Too much thinking could also halt your momentum and you definitely don’t want. You want to be full of energy and ready to hit the ground running. Let’s go!

2. You’ll speak Web fluently…

…and this is perhaps one of the most complicated things. Unless you are already a professional developer or have a background in programing, you’ll have to learn on the job what hosting is, a blog platform, CMS, themes, CSS, plugins, widgets, etc. Because once you have your own great idea, it will have to be implemented. It’s a bit like putting your hands in the car engine. And there too, it will have to choose well … Do not hesitate to compare and poke around a bit at your competition and see how they do it.

Ah, forgot to mention, Google is your best friend (and your worst enemy, all at the same time), the world of SEO will hide its secrets no longer for your rapidly expanding skillset! Good luck with that. You’ll have the wonderful opportunity to spend countless hours researching and reading about optimizing your articles and the smallest settings that can make a huge impact on where your blog will be ranked. Keep in mind that Google is ultra demanding and it takes a considerable amount of effort to put your site on the 1st page of the search results.

It does seem overwhelming, doesn’t it? The learning curve is steep yet no one was born with all his knowledge and just to keep you motivated, keep in mind that there are some very successful blogs from people of all ages. If a 55-year-old grandmother of five can learn what “anchors” are, so can you!

3. You will give the shirt off your back for it…

…because in this world, nothing is free. Did you notice? Lets make your head spin a little bit. To write an article and put it online, you’ll need a computer. To take pictures, a camera (logical). This is the basis ! Do not forget the registration of your domain name, the cost of hosting, possibly the cost of a few plugins…

Do you feel a slight headache starting? Did you notice that there was no mention of videos or a webmaster for your blog. In short, we’re talking about a few hundred to a few thousand dollars of investment, and the blog hasn’t produced a single penny for you yet. On second thought, maybe the shirt off your back was an understatement! And now for the coup de grace, to feed your blog, hope you didn’t forget that… you also have to travel! OUPS! Yeah it’s a bit cruel to remind you of this but think of it this way, you just sold your first kidney! You still have another one, that’s a pretty good trade.

4. You will spend your evenings and weekends…

… and logically, you will have puffy eyes in the morning and with bags under them bigger then Trump! Because you most likely already have a paying job that takes at least 30 hours of your week, which allows you to pay your rent, stuff your fridge and travel. You’re surely thinking that life is badly setup: you work the days to pay your bills, and on the evenings and weekends, you feed your blog by spending the salary you earned during the day. Don’t you just love the vicious circle coming your way? At the same time, if you do not feed your blog, nobody will read it (it’s a beautiful catch 22!). Oh, and trust this golden advice, between the sorting, the photo editing, the writing and the optimization of your blog, you will see for yourself the time it takes you. There’s no rest for the wicked travel blogger!

5. You will be patient…

…because the success and the downpour of flight tickets, they’re not for the immediate now and maybe ever (especially regarding the tickets). So you’re going to learn to drown your sorrows patiently. Stop looking at your visitor statistics every 5 minutes, it will not advance the counters! Focus more on writing your beautiful articles. Also, patience is a great virtue. Are you already dejected? Wait, don’t let go of your new business right away, the road is long and full of surprises.

6. You will have ups and downs…

…just like on a roller coaster! Even while all is good and you’re on jubilant while writing about the Carnaval in Rio, things can and will go wrong; be ready! You’ll get food poisoning, your luggage will be lost, you’ll have you wallet stolen or even worst, your MacBook, but you will bounce back. The first year of blogging and maybe even part of your second can discourage you to no end, however if you’ve had the patience to read this far and then you will have the strength to pull through.

You’ll learn, in time, the ups are mostly the rewards of your hard work and the downs are 99% outside of your control. You’ll learn from each expertise and grow with every new article that you’ll publish. Here’s a simple calculation that will make you smile and will serve to remind you how hard you’ve work and why you deserve everything coming your way. If every day after work you put in 3 hours into your blog, on the weekends you double that (so 6 hours), there are 10 stat holidays where you do the same, add you vacation days from work so 14 more days of hard work; do you know how much effort you’ve put in at the end of the first year? Just shy of 1500 hours…. to put that into perspective, there are many small airline pilots that don’t have that many hours of flight experience!

7. You will be an MC…

…on social media, not on live stages! A blog is a good medium for information, but if you’re not on social media networks… you risk not going very far. You have such a great selection so pick your choice of weapons: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc etc etc. The list is long … there are some really smart guys in Silicon Valley brewing some new ones regularly. You’ll quickly learn that it is thanks to these social networks that you’ll build a nice community and grow your audience. The main advantage, it’s live, you are in immediate contact with your readers (well if you have readers!).

Remember, don’t be lazy! Once you have a new article, plan the Facebook post for it on your blog’s page, plan the Tweet, plan… plan… plan… If you’re organized, and at this point you should be, and then you’re doing better then 90% of bloggers out there, you’ll probably have a checklist with all the activities you have to perform on a regular basis and especially when publishing an article. MCs make it look so effortless onstage, it’s only because they prepare well in advance. You’ll do great!

8. you’ll have a sense of humor…

…just to keep up your morale! That’s important, humor. It makes it possible to relate and to build the online community that you’ll entertain. It’s also not bad to sprinkle in your articles. Well, it’s you who decides, you’re the boss now.

Because you’re a blogger, you’ll probably or certainly talk about your blog to everyone. Well, not to burst your bubble but some friends and acquaintances will make fun of you and it’s your sense of humor that will get you through these encounters as well as maybe turning them around and growing even more your audience.

9. You’ll do what you’re told…

…during blogging trips. Your blog is working well, you’re happy, they’ve offered you a blogging trip. Basically, it’s a trip organized by a tourism professional who wants you to promote a place / city / country by discovering it according to a specific program. If you have the chance to participate, you will have a busy schedule. If you think you can do what you want, WRONG! You’re on the clock now friend… And they’ll tell you where to go, when and what to do. In short, you don’t have much freedom. At the same time, you’re here to work, so bite the bullet and rollup your sleeves. You have to take notes, photos, post on your social networks, etc. And in the evening, when you get back to the hotel, put all that in writing! You will learn what the word multitasking means quickly.

Many bloggers use voice memos and quick notes apps to be able to mark down ideas and events, while others just simply use their social media updates as notes for the upcoming article; it all on the audience that the blog has.

10. You will have a new mantra…

…passion. Hell yeah, a blog is above all a job for enthusiasts. That is what most bloggers have in common and their style is coming from. Work, investment, still work, all sprinkled with a ton of passion. The life of a blogger is not as rosy as it is believed. But it’s a lot of fun!

Your passion will drive you to new destinations through uncharted paths and down some dark alleys. It will fuel your late night research and the long hours spent on forums and on Facebook.

11. You will be published…

…on Amazon. YES! You didn’t know that? It’s probably the easiest way to get an eBook published and start seeing some revenue form your travel adventures. And why on Amazon? Because once you have finished formatting and correcting your eBook, and you still have to choose on which platforms to distribute it, you do not really have a choice friend! It’s not a law compels you to choose the services of this giant, but this will be the only way to reach the proud buyers of Kindle, a large part of the digital readers. It is clear that it is therefore difficult to skip over Amazon…

If you put some of the articles together, that you’ve already carefully written, add a few funny anecdotes from your blogging travels, and you’ve got a book! You’ll quickly learn how to publish and how to market your new book.

The funny part of this experience is how immediately after your book has come out, the friends that may have marked you in the past, will be the first ones calling you. It’s still a mystery by being a travel blogger is not as glamorous as a published travel blogger; go figure! Some psychologist will have to write a paper on this one day, or maybe psychology blogger…

12. You’ll be the GURU…

…of email marketing. This is truly the pièce de résistance for this entire experience. All the work that you’ve put in until now culminates with direct email marketing and working your own campaigns. Starting the blog was the first step; published article after, article after… and slowly that email list of subscribers to your blog has grown. The efforts put on social media have added new followers to your blog and even more emails to that list. Your passion has captured steady and your work ethic has honed your skills as a writer and as a one-man/woman marketing machine that has gotten gear once your eBook was published.

Surely at this point you have already a second eBook in mind as well as probably a landing page for it, why? Because all of this is now second nature to you. Your have your next few trips already planned out, your articles are already brewing in the back of your head, and you’re probably already thinking of the first two or three emails that will be going out to your audience to promote all of it.

This entire experience you’ve gained on your own working and fighting to become a professional travel blogger. Congratulations!