I actually started to blog in 2013, using WordPress as an online diary. However, it was not until early 2015 that I decided to turn it to a professional travel blog.
May 2016, I finally made a huge move in my travel blogging career: Invest money and time in it and take it as a serious job.
At this moment it has been a year since I spent my very first penny on this blog. I’ve made many mistakes, and still more in the future, I guess. But I’ve learned from them, and luckily, knew how to fix them.
Here are 4 travel blogging tips I’ve learned so far
1. Find your niche ASAP
Travel blog itself is not a niche anymore, I think.
Well, maybe it’s still a niche, but not THAT niche.
In the beginning, I had a difficult time trying to figure out what MY niche should be. Should it be a female solo travel blog? Nope, I don’t travel solo a lot. Should it be budget travel? Nope, I also want some luxury sometimes. Should it be student travel on a budget? Another nope, as I’m no longer a student (phew)!
Finding a niche will help you determine the content of your blog, what you should write about, what you should focus on, etc.
It also helps you choose the right theme, logo, and image for your blog, not to mention the style of your writing.
Here in my blog, as I have it bilingual (Vietnamese and English), I can somehow say I have TWO niches. They are not totally different from each other, but for the Vietnamese version, I focus on Europe travel guides, tips, and planning for my Vietnamese readers at my age. For the English one, it’s basically about the same themes, but in the future, I will focus more on travelling in Vietnam and Asia.
Since 2019, the blog was rebranded and became Misa’s Europe Travel Blog, focusing on hassle-free travels in Europe, written in both Vietnamese and English.
Sometimes I also write about things-not-in-my-niche, but I have to make sure I do not write too much about my mood on a rainy day sitting in a cafe in Rome but how to enjoy a rainy day while travelling in Rome instead.
2. Images make the difference
Once I’ve chosen my niche, the next step is the design of my blog. It must foremost fit my target audience. And since we’re living in a world of short attention spans and lots of distractions, images make the difference.
I cannot remember how many times I ignored a travel blog, just because of the pictures. Maybe their writing was awesome, but first thing first: once the pictures cannot catch my eyes and make me stay more than 5 seconds, I’d rather save my time and read other blogs.
3. Writing is struggling
It’s the battle field between “what I actually want to write” and “what I have to write”. Sometimes I just want to share a post about my tulips in the garden, or how beautiful spring is in my area.
The reality is that I don’t live in the middle of Paris, and obviously nobody cares where Eidsvoll Verk is, let alone travelling there!
So yes, it’s really a battle field!
4. Travel blogging is all about hardworking!
Very. Hard. Working.
When I still worked as a website editor in Vietnam, I worked with the same WordPress platform, the same topic (I was a travel editor). The only thing different was that I had a team with me.
If I was sick, my colleague could help to write some basic stuff about travelling and hit publish as soon as it was properly checked. When I needed some pictures, just a short email and I’d have all the beautiful ones, in the right dimension I wanted. And if there was any technical problem, we had the whole IT department to blame for (sorry guys).
But now, as I work alone and my theme doesn’t work on mobile device, I have to contact the theme developer to ask, then follow his/her instructions to fix, then ask him/her again what he/she really meant in the previous email, and so on.
Or when I was sick but already had a blog post to publish on that day, I JUST had to choose either to finish it or screw up everything.
After one year of travel blogging…
I still have a lot of problems running this website as smoothly as it should be done. Every time I read other successful travel blogs with clear niche, nice theme, and basically professional everything, I wish I could have realised these mistakes earlier. But as one of my buddies always said, it’s better late than never!