Do you strive to become a digital nomad? Perhaps a writer or entrepreneur of some variety that works online? We’ve created this page to give you our thoughts as well as resources on travel blogging and living the digital nomadic lifestyle. I’ve also created a resource pinboard on Pinterest that I update daily.
Four Factors For A Successful Travel Blog
The three main factors that seem to dictate whether or not a writer will make an income from their travel blog, apart from the obvious ( they can create good content) are:
- Page Rank
- Having an engaged blog audience and subscribers
- Social Media Following
- A product ( ebook, freelance services, etc) to sell to someone who would benefit from it ( your readers, a travel company, etc)
In today’s world, the first two are the hardest to achieve and elude most travel bloggers. SEO is changing constantly, as is social media ( Facebook just changed its algorithm and it’s not good folks..). Traffic is very fickle and because of SEO issues, it is better to focus on cultivating an audience via guest posting and engaging with people. This is a long, slow process but like all things, relationships are key and they don’t happen overnight.
But what if you want to make an income right now from your services, or what if you want to create a business of some kind online? Below are some resources I have found helpful as a writer turned entrepreneur.
How I Make My Living
I’m a freelance writer and digital strategist, and use my blogs as a way to connect with clients. I’ve written for sites such as Matador Network and collaborate with Lonely Planet, and ghostwrite for leading women entrepreneurs ( mainly business coaches).
My income used to come from sponsored posts, long ago, but they eventually slowed down and became harder to get and for less money. It wasn’t reliable.
In 2013, I decided to switch my business model to freelancing and doing consulting work, and I’m glad I did!
I’ve done one press trip to Chiang Khan ( which I’ve written about on Epic Wanderings) and hope to do another in the future, but because I have a young daughter, it can be hard to travel often and be working 24/7, which is essentially what you’re doing on a press trip. It really isn’t a vacation! You’re going from here to there and taking photos all day long, with very little time to sit and contemplate the experience.
Creating a brand for your travel blog
What I’ve noticed about the most popular travel blogs is that they tend to have excellent branding.
Great design, a signature style and voice…everything is very professional and clear. Of course, there are exceptions to this, especially for the bloggers who have incredible page rank from being around for decades ( which some do) and an audience that has stuck with them.
But the rest of us should be focused on creating a very enticing travel blog brand that delivers a certain feeling to its intended reader.
Ryan from Blogging From Paradise has created a travel blog brand that gives his readers the feeling of freedom, like they’re sitting on a beach and living the ‘laptop lifestyle’. Ryan does this through telling travel stories in his posts and ebooks, and of course, his entire brand is about blogging from paradise, so you see tons of photos from exotic locations.
Sattvic Family is a blog about families who are seeking balance in their lives, which is somewhat how you could define the sanskrit term sattvic. Our audience and the readers we’ve had the privilege to meet are families that also seek balance in their work and lives, and that enjoy spending time together.
What is your travel blog brand about, and how can you make it even clearer what you stand for, and who your Ideal Blog Reader is?
A great brand is very inspiring and helpful to its intended readers/clients/customers.
Why travel bloggers should pitch
I firmly believe that not only travel bloggers but all entrepreneurs need to learn to stop sitting around and waiting for clients/income and need to pitch as often as possible.
Pitching essentially means writing a publication, brand, or biz and letting them know you’re for hire, or want to collaborate.
Pitching is and art and a science. The best site for learning how to pitch travel publications is travel writer & editor James Durston’s Travel Write Earn. His site is a godsend! He lists out exactly who to contact for many travel publications, making it a heck of a lot easier to find places to pitch as a travel blogger & writer.
Social Media For Travel Bloggers
My focus as a digital strategist has been on growing my Pinterest following and pinning regularly to group boards.
Why Pinterest? I get the most ROI from there, to be frank! As a digital strategist that used to specialize in Fanpages, I realized how crappy the engaged is on Facebook and have tested all other platforms. If you want click throughs and traffic, Pinterest is where it’s at!
By becoming an influencer on Pinterest, I’ve gotten clients and also was hired by Lonely Planet to run their Tastes of Thailand board. I also have major brands and businesses who pin to my group boards ( like canva.com) and have one of the top ranking travel blogging group boards.
I have written an in depth guide to Pinterest for travel bloggers you can check out, which is on my culinary travel blog.
Interacting in Facebook groups is another great way to use Social Media proactively. I created the Blogging Boost group ( with over 17,000 members now) as a place to connect and ask questions. There are numerous boards for digital nomads and travelers too.
Instagram is another fantastic visual SM network that travel bloggers should use. I mainly use it for my consulting business and culinary travel site ( which you can check out here) but recently started an account for Sattvic Family too, as I want to connect with like-minded worldschoolers & digital nomad families around the world.
Make sure to post only high-quality images that reflect your travel blogging brand, and use relevant hashtags to get your pics in front of brands, destinations, and travelers.
Travel Blogging Resources
A very in depth online blogging school created by Ruth Soukup of Living Well, Spending Less. The course includes videos and loads of worksheets ( that include homework so you implement what she covers) that go through everything from crafting your content to promoting your posts on Pinterest and how to create your first product. I highly recommend this course! I enrolled in 2014 and yet I still repeatedly listen to the modules. One of the cool bonuses is that EBA has an app, so I’ve got it on my phone to access 24/7.
You can read my in depth review of Elite Blog Academy on my other site.
Regina is a good friend of mine, and happens to run not only one of the web’s most informative sites for freelancers, bloggers, creatives, and coaches. She went to business school, and has years of experience as a writer and biz owner, as well as freelancer. She is also extremely generous in how much info and work she puts into all of her courses, and her blog.
She has several courses that are free, such as the in depth Free Blog School. Everything she’s created is epic, whether you’re new to blogging or a seasoned pro.
Best site out there for travel writers, particularly freelancers looking to find out where to pitch and how to make a living from their writing. It’s run by an editor who has years of experience getting pitches from travel writers, and who also freelances himself. Extremely valuable posts!!!
The best course I’ve purchased to date for explaining how to shoot in manual. Very visual, and includes video walkthroughs.
Founded by uber successful blogger and author Jeff Goins, Tribe Writers seeks to help writers focus on growing an audience by creating a manifesto and spreading your ideas through your blog, social media, etc. The goal being to create a sustainable income from your work. I’ve found this course to be very good, filled with useful tips that you can implement quickly. It’s good for online entrepreneurs of all levels, not just beginners. You can read my review here.
While this program is a big investment, B School is a fantastic program. It’s the reason I changed my business model, and had I not gotten clear on exactly how I wanted to use my blogs to generate an income, I would still be stuck in the ‘pro blogger’ mindset ( aka that I needed to rely on ads and sponsored posts).
Before B School opens, they offer 40 or so scholarships to applicants, so I highly suggest applying! Our close friend Rodrigo won one, and he’s now living his dreams and moved from El Salvador to Europe. Of course, it wasn’t B School alone that helped him ( or me) have success in entrepreneurship, because it’s hard work that does that. But B School did provide us with great training materials on marketing and sales that we can refer to when we need to.
One excellent way you can create a product that’s super helpful for your audience is to create an online course. Mariah Coz’ two main courses go in depth into how to create a profitable online course. I was blown away by how much training she includes in her programs, especially in Launch Your Signature Course ( her premium training). Absolutely worth the cost, and very in depth, if you’re looking on monetizing your travel blog through teaching online.
If you’ve just started your blog or are looking to attract more readers, why not participate in link ups? Link ups are essentially a way to get your content in front of someone else’s readers, and to connect with other bloggers.
Link your latest travel blog post up on A Compass Rose blog every Tuesday to meet fellow travel bloggers and gain new readers.
Includes suggested resources for visas, housesitting, etc