Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post on my Europe travel blog back in 2017. At that time, I still had a category named Travel Blogging on that website. I have since changed my blog completely and focused solely on travel guides, tips, and itineraries.
I then moved this blog post around several times, and finally decided to delete it. I kept it in my drafts for a while because I was uncertain whether to share it or not.
However, after much contemplation, I have decided to publish this post again as a reflection on my journey as a travel blogger and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
So, here below is the original content in its entirety, with added updates and insights from my current perspective.
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Things I’ve Learned after One Year of Travel Blogging
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.
Looking back, I can confidently say that it was definitely worth it. So here are some things I’ve learned after one year of travel blogging.
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)!
After several times of trial and error, I finally found my niche in Europe travel, and specifically slow travel around Europe. It took me a while to realize that this is what truly resonates with me and my experiences.
So my advice to new travel bloggers: don’t waste too much time trying to figure out the perfect niche for your blog. Instead, focus on creating content that reflects your personal interests and experiences.
Finding a niche early 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.
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.
If you’re not confident about your photography skill, try to find images from a free source. I like pictures from Unsplash and Pexels. These two are among the photo sources I use for travel blogging. Just make sure that you give proper credits to the photographer.
However, if photography is your thing, then invest in a good camera and practice your skills. Beautiful and eye-catching images can truly elevate your blog and make it stand out from the rest.
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, or Amsterdam, or Barcelona, or any of these fully-packed-with-tourists-and-Instagram-worthy-places. I live in a small town somewhere in Norway that is not as glamorous or popular.
But then, I have to remind myself that this blog is for my readers and not just for me. So even if I don’t always get to write about the most exotic destinations, I do my best to make my content informative and useful for anyone interested in visiting Europe.
And you know what? English is not my my mother tongue! It’s my first language, so writing in English is challenging for me, but it’s also a great way to improve and constantly learn.
So yes, it really is a battle field!
Update in 2023
Back in time, there was no AI-assisted writing tools like Jasper or Koala, so I spent twice, if not more, the time to write one single blog post. Now, with these tools, writing is much easier and faster.
However, I still face the challenge of choosing between what I want to write and what I have to write. But now, I have a better understanding of my audience and know how to balance my personal interests and their needs.
Travel Blogging Is All about Hard Working!
Very. Hard. Working.
When I still worked as a website editor, 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) and help us out.
Now I am alone, as a one-woman team. I have to do everything on my own: producing content, taking photos, managing social media accounts, dealing with technical issues, and more.
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.
It’s definitely not easy, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to see the growth of my blog and the positive impact it has on others.
Update in 2023
I have a VA since 2022, and it helped my day-to-day tasks a lot. I don’t have to do everything alone, which gives me more time and energy to focus on creating quality content.
Also, with the rise of all tools like Canva, AI, and other automation tools, my tasks are even easier (but still require hard work). Even keyword research can be done pretty well with the help of tools like Keysearch and RankIQ, making SEO optimization much more efficient.
The hardest work, I believe now, is to maintain the quality of my blog and stay true to my brand and what I stand for.
This is not only for my own satisfaction, but also for keeping the trust and interest of my readers.
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 realized these mistakes earlier.
But as they always say, it’s better late than never. Blogging is not a get-rich-quick or easy-money scheme. It’s a passion project that requires effort, dedication, and continuous learning.
So is travel blogging worth it? Absolutely! Despite the challenges, creating content about my adventures and sharing them with others has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.
It allows me to connect with like-minded individuals from around the world, learn and grow as a writer and photographer, and inspire others to explore the world.
Plus, who knows what opportunities and adventures await in the future? Travel blogging has endless possibilities and I am excited to see where it takes me next.
Overall, if you have a passion for travel and creating content, then travel blogging is definitely worth it.
Latest Updates for 2023
Since the time I started my travel blog, the world of blogging in general and the travel blogging industry in particular has evolved significantly.
With the rise of social media, influencer marketing, and other trends, there are more opportunities for travel bloggers to gain exposure and earn income from their blogs.
Of course, with these developments also come new challenges and competition. It’s not enough to just have a blog; you need to constantly adapt and innovate to stay relevant and stand out among the crowd. That’s why it’s important to continuously invest time and effort into improving your blog and learning new skills.
At the end of the day, I can confidently say that travel blogging is still worth it. It’s not just about making money or gaining popularity; it’s about sharing your experiences, inspiring others, and constantly growing as a person!