As social media becomes more and more ingrained in our everyday lives, influencing—including blogging or vlogging—is increasingly seen as a viable career option. Even if it’s just a side-job, posting about your passions and interests can be an easy way to earn some extra cash. And one of the most lucrative niches is travel. Research has shown that it’s the fifth most profitable subject, making around $5,000 per month, on average.
This is an ideal way of generating income if you’re considering quitting your 9-5 and hitting the road. But, first, you will need to actually plan out and launch your account, and there’s a bit more to it than simply thinking of a username. Here, we’ll run through all the information you need to kickstart your career as a travel influencer.
Set up your website
Step one is to set up your website, which means thinking of a domain name and buying it. This can be tricky and helps if you’re a little creative with it, by creating portmanteaus or puns, if it works. Think about the most memorable websites and brands, and what they have in common—they tend to be short. As explained in this guide to brandable domain names, brands like Google and Kodak are memorable and “sticky” as they’re “easy to read and say”. Of course, you want your domain to explain what your brand is about from the get-go, so play around with different combinations of words and puns to get the travel theme in there.
Once you’ve picked a domain, you need to figure out how you’ll host your website. This can be done locally or with a provider, which basically means you can do it yourself or use a hosting platform. Hosting platforms are much more common, infinitely easier, and aren’t expensive, so unless you have significant experience in building websites, we suggest using a host. Then, it’s just a case of picking the right design theme, installing it, and getting the blog ready for your content.
Nail your SEO strategy quickly
SEO, or search engine optimization, is crucial for getting your brand and website out there to the masses. If you’re serious about making money from your blog, you need to be visible on the internet and actively drive traffic to your website. Many people around the world use the internet to plan their holidays, with 33% of American travellers looking to niche blogs for advice. You want to reach these readers quickly, so work out what they’re searching for, and let that influence your content.
Travel blogs naturally belong to a global industry, so you should also think about developing a global campaign so that readers around the world can easily find your website. An international SEO strategy requires more planning than a local one, as noted in the international website checklist by translations agency Global Voices. This includes thinking carefully about your domain strategy, researching keywords in different countries, and ensuring your content is localized. Undertaking keyword research also be done in a considered way when picking a brand name, so you can avoid choosing one that sounds similar to an existing business, which could create confusion.
Create a content plan
Of course, having a solid SEO strategy in place can only get you so far — you actually need to publish exceptional content. Blogging is not as simple as sitting down at your laptop and writing a post off the top of your head each day, then expecting the money to start rolling in. You need to have a content plan in place to help you stay organized, giving you time to research if needed, and letting you proofread and edit your posts before publishing.
Your research can involve anything you want it to, but it’s especially helpful to keep track of what’s trending online. If there’s a destination that’s popular within a specific demographic — like Cancún for spring breakers — you should be looking into widely-used search terms and trends, and have your article live and published in time, ready for the search volume.
Planning your posts at least two months in advance gives you plenty of time to research and plan your articles while accommodating for any last-minute posts you might want to publish. As your blog gains popularity, and you start networking and collaborating with other bloggers and businesses, having an organized plan will help you keep on top of your workload.
Build a social media presence
Social media and blogging go hand-in-hand. In fact, having a social presence online actually works to drive traffic to your blog. Instagram is perhaps the most useful platform in this instance, as referral traffic from the app increased by 114% from 2018 to 2019. Make sure your branding flows seamlessly between your blog and your social media pages, whether through consistent colour schemes, headers, or profile images and remember to link back to your blog within your posts. Social media also allows you to connect with your readers on a more personal level, encouraging conversations which, in turn, can make them regular blog visitors.
Just remember that, like your blog, you need to post meaningful, shareable content to your social media profiles. Whether this means taking the time to capture high-quality photos for Instagram, writing re-postable tweets on Twitter, or creating shareable videos on Facebook, you want your followers to engage with your posts.
Capitalize on your traffic
It takes time to build a following online and start getting enough traffic for you to actually make a living. But there are ways you can start profiting from your writing quickly, such as sharing affiliate links, which earns you a commission every time someone buys a product you recommend. As a travel blogger, you could share travelling essentials on Amazon, or recommended accommodation through Booking.com. It’s even possible to sell ad space on your website through Google Adsense, which works especially well with high-traffic websites.
If you focus on growing your brand and creating engaging content, you may even catch the eye of travel companies who will want to partner with you for sponsored content. Just remember to know your worth, and never undersell yourself.