Dear Aspiring Travel Blogger,
I know you are considering jumping into the world of travel blogging. I can’t blame you. Over the last five and a half years, my travel blog has opened up many doors that would otherwise have been closed to me.
However, before you dive head first into the rainbow and unicorn world of travel blogging, there are probably a few things you should know:
1) You will not have overnight success.
As in any field of human endeavor, you have to pay your dues before you can expect any success. Unless you already have some sort of online following, you will probably be starting from scratch with an audience of zero. Be prepared to put in several years of work before you start to see a payoff. Even those bloggers who have achieved some level of success aren’t becoming rich from their efforts.
2) You might never be a success.
Online, things tend to be distributed by what is known as a power law distribution. It is a fancy way of restating the 80/20 rule. A small number of blogs will garner most of the traffic, while the majority of blogs never get any traction. To get into that top tier will require a lot of hard work and determination. Many of the travel blogs which were popular when I started have either been abandoned or taken down. There is a very high rate of attrition among bloggers.
3) It is getting harder to become a success
Not to sound like the old guy, but back when I launch my blog in 2006 there weren’t as many travel blogs out there. I didn’t have to contend with blogs who had been around for years and had 10,000′s or 100,000′s of readers. Today the early mover advantage is gone. If you start blogging today you will find yourself in an extremely crowded marketplace and have to compete with bloggers how have been around for years. This is true for any niche you wish you blog about.
4) Running a successful blog is hard work
Running a blog is more than just writing. You also have to wear the hats of everyone else at a traditional publication: marketing, sales and circulation. In addition to being a writer you also have to be a photographer and maybe even a videographer. As with any traditional publication, good writing is just the beginning, not the end. If you have fantasies about sipping champagne on the beach, put those aside now.
5) Be prepared to travel a lot
This might sound like the glamorous part of the job, but the majority of the top single person travel blogs are run by people who travel for a living or began their blog during an around the world trip. Simply going on vacation periodically probably isn’t going to cut it. To get the interest of readers you need a travel portfolio that will grab people’s attention and provide you with plenty of things to write about. Also, backpacking in South-East Asia has been done to death. You will probably need to come up with something a bit more interesting.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there you have it. If you want to join the illustrious ranks of travel bloggers, you are more than welcome. Just be aware of what you are getting yourself into before you get started.