Being a travel blogger is a dream for many but how to start a blog from scratch, grow it and eventually make money from it can often seem like a mystery.
I have been a travel blogger for 6 years now and having a successful travel website has opened many doors for me. This blog has helped us cover travel costs during our 15-month-long journey driving down the Pan-American Highway and has created a steady, passive income that well surpasses the salary from my old 9-5 accounting job.
In this post, I cover 12 proven strategies that have helped me grow my travel blogging business.
Some of these tips will help grow your website as a whole while other strategies will benefit in promoting individual blog posts. Let’s get started!
My Story Of Becoming a Travel Blogger
When I first started my journey as a travel blogger, I had never dreamed that it would turn into a full-time gig for me. For the first few years, I just treated it as a fun hobby and a platform to share my travel experiences on.
After a few years of part-time blogging, I came to crossroads where I had to either step it up or return to a 9-5 job. I decided to take on the challenge and figure out ways to turn this blog into a full-time business.
I spent hours and hours working on increasing my blog traffic to generate more income from affiliate marketing, ads, and sponsorships. To this date, there still isn’t a whole lot of information out there on how to grow a travel blog and most of my knowledge came from lots of trial and error.
Now my travel blog is at a point where I earn over 10K in travel blog salary a month. This income is never guaranteed (ahem Covid), but it’s been steady enough to cover our travel, business, and living expenses plus have extra to set aside for savings.
Travel blogging is something that I truly enjoy and I even started a second blog California Wanderland that is still in the early stages but has been steadily growing for the past two years.
Whether you have a new ‘baby’ blog that is only read by your mom (and that’s totally ok too!), or you’re looking to take serious leaps to increase your traffic, there’s always room for improvement.
Over the years this travel blog has been read by over 6 million people but this growth did not happen overnight. It took a lot of work, effort, consistent posting, and constantly evolving to get to this point.
Why You Should Promote Your Travel Blog
More people than ever are joining the online ‘work-from-home’ (or road) space so it’s important to stand out and be competitive to ‘make it’ as a travel blogger.
Even if you write amazing blog posts and have done a great job at SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it doesn’t guarantee that Google will rank you on page 1. Some of my favorite articles never see the day of light while other ‘I-didn’t-think-this-would-do-good’ articles perform extremely well after a successful promotional campaign.
A blog with a lot of mentions and social shares is more likely to have a higher Domain Authority (a number that shows how established your site is) and end up on page 1 of Google – which is essentially the ultimate goal. Because of this, you’ll notice that many of the top travel bloggers also have pretty significant social media pages.
Social sharing indicates that the blog is something people are enjoying & find helpful. As a result, Google will bump it up in the ranks. Articles that I’ve done a lot of promotion for are harder to push out of their Google rankings by competition and new travel bloggers that are joining the field.
So how can you promote your travel blog to bring in more traffic and create name recognition?
Here Are 12 Proven Ways To Promote a Travel Blog:
One of the best ways to promote a travel blog is through social media apps and Pinterest makes it very easy to do so.
When you upload an image to Pinterest, you can add a link to a specific blog post or the Home page. This can generate click-throughs from Pinterest to your website driving lots of free traffic.
Pinterest is a visually based social media app that works as a search engine which is great for travel photographers. Just about every photo that I take for the blog ends up on Pinterest as well.
In the last year, Pinterest has generated 378,000 outbound clicks to this website. And I only spend a couple of hours a week creating, scheduling and posting pins.
Here are a few tips on how to use Pinterest for growing a blog:
- Make sure you set up a Pinterest business account so you can track the Analytics and outbound clicks.
- I use Canva for creating eye-catching visuals and pins with text. Canva is easy to use and comes with many great templates.
- After publishing a new blog post, I use social sharing buttons to re-share every blog image on Pinterest. This is an easy technique that only takes a few seconds.
- You can upload pins directly to Pinterest or use apps like Tailwind to schedule your pins. I recommend joining a few Tailwind ‘Communities’ with other travel photographers where you can re-pin reach other’s posts and spread the love.
- The more pins you upload, the better!
Facebook is another social media app that makes it very easy to share blog posts. After publishing a blog post, I will hop on Facebook to promote and drive some traffic to it.
Similar to Pinterest, you will first need to create a business page for your website. Then you can share a blog post in two ways:
1) Create a post in Facebook. To do so upload an image (or multiple images) directly in Facebook with text describing what the post is about and add a link to the blog post. I find that this technique works great because the post looks organic and engaging.
2) Create a post in Meta Business Suite. When you create a post in Meta Business Suite with an outbound link, the post will have a grey border around the blog post title at the bottom.
Personally, I’ve noticed that these posts don’t generate as many outbound clicks or likes because they look more like an ad. Some bloggers however prefer this look and have great success with this style of social sharing.
To create the post, go to Meta Business Suite and paste the blog post link into the ‘Post details’ box. Then add text or a call to action.
Once you add the link, you will see a preview of the post. If you’re trying to share a new blog post on Facebook and are having issues with the preview, you might need to run the link through Facebook’s Sharing Debugger first.
Now that Facebook has scraped the URL, it recognizes it as a valid link (and not some spam) and will let you share it in the Meta Business Suite.
Once you start receiving likes on your posts, be sure to click on the like number and ‘Invite’ people to like your page. This way your page will get more followers and your audience will be notified of future posts.
If you’ve done all this and your posts are not performing too well, don’t fret! In this post, we’ll cover how to set up Facebook Ads to get more eyes on your Facebook page and blog.
When I tell people that I’m a travel blogger, the first question I usually get is “What is your Instagram handle?” (Psst! It’s @funlifecrisis btw!)
If I respond with “Check out my blog Funlifecrisis.com instead” I’m usually met with a blank stare as if I just asked them to transport back to the ice age. The point is that people go to Instagram for validation and to see what your ‘portfolio’ looks like.
While Tik Tok is the ‘new Instagram’ and is catching up in its user base, Instagram is still seen as the main social media platform, especially by brands and companies interested in working with travel influencers & bloggers.
Promoting a blog post on Instagram is not as easy as on Pinterest or Facebook, but the readers that DO click through from Instagram to my website tend to have longer read times. It’s not always about quantity but quality and Instagram offers a great platform for building a loyal audience.
Here are a couple of tips on how to promote your travel blog on Instagram:
- Add your website URL in the bio. To do this go to Edit Profile – Website – Copy/Paste the link of your website. The URL in your bio is prime real estate which can generate many clicks to your blog or landing page.
- Promote the link in your posts. I tend to do this when I want to drive traffic to a specific blog post. I’ll share an image in my feed and add a call to action like “Click the link in bio to read more”. While not everyone reads the captions, many people do and will click on the link in the bio when encouraged to. People who follow you want to see and engage with your content.
- Promote blog posts on IG Stories. IG stories have a handy tool that can link to blog posts. Simply upload an image or a graphic to the IG story, click on the ‘smiley face’ icon, then select ‘Link’ and add a link to the blog post. You can even customize the sticker text to your website name or a call to action.
4. Google Web Stories
Google Web Stories is a great way to grow a blog – quickly! I started using Google Web Stories last year and have seen a significant boost in my readership since then.
If you’ve never heard of Google Web Stories before – you’re not alone! This is still a new feature but essentially, it works similar to Instagram Stories – but with Google search.
When a person searches for the subject ‘Things To Do On The Oregon Coast‘, they might see a link to this Web Story.
Google Web Stories is a great way to drive viral traffic to specific blog posts. On the downside, Google Web Stories have a short shelf life.
You might get a lot of views & clicks in the first few weeks after publishing a Web Story, but they often plummet to zero views soon after. Just like Instagram Stories, Google Web Stories are not meant to be shown forever – it’s just a quick way to boost viewership in a short amount of time.
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5. Email Newsletter
Whether you’re new to blogging or have been doing it for a while, an email newsletter is something that you should start as soon as possible. I’ve overlooked email marketing for years because I thought it was complicated to set up and wish I had started sooner.
There are many ways to collect email addresses from your readers. Some bloggers offer ‘freebies‘ to entice readers to sign up while others place banners that pop up as you’re reading the post.
I personally use the Spotlight Subscribe Widget by Mediavine. Mediavine is an advertising agency that manages ads on my website but they also offer lots of awesome blogging tools.
Spotlight Subscribe makes this process very easy and it doesn’t require a complicated setup – it’s as easy as a click of a button.
Once you have a subscriber list going, it’s time to create a newsletter. I use the MailerLite email marketing service which is free for up to 1000 subscribers and comes with a few preset email templates. As your email list grows, MailerLite offers tier pricing which is much cheaper than its competitors.
With MailerLite I’m able to create beautiful templates in just a couple of hours and add my new subscribers easily. I send a newsletter monthly but many bloggers send one out every week – it comes down to your preference and how much time you can dedicate to it.
Unlike social media platforms that come and go, an email list is YOURS FOREVER. A newsletter is a great way to market anything you create for your audience – whether that is a blog post, a product, a course, or just to send a general reminder that your blog still exists!
6. Run Ads
So, you’ve been working your butt off to grow your social media accounts and still not seeing results. Does that mean you should just throw in the towel? Heck no!
With every new social media platform, you’ll see a lot of growth in the first few years, then a plateau or even a decrease in followers and engagement. It’s just part of the social media platform life span.
For social media platforms to make money, eventually, they tend to limit people’s organic reach and encourage you to pay for ads if you want your audience to see your posts.
While I used to get discouraged by the changing algorithms and the ‘pay-to-play‘ game, once I started paying for ads, I immediately saw a rise in my engagement again. At the end of the day, I am trying to run a business and if I need to invest some money in ads for people to see my posts, so be it!
I use the Facebook Ads Manager interface to set up individualized ads for Facebook and Instagram. If you’re new to it, this process can feel quite overwhelming, especially when creating an ad for the first time.
As an alternative, you can also click on ‘Boost Post’ which is a simplified version of Facebook Ads Manager meant for newbies. When you click on ‘Boost Post’, it will walk you through the steps required to set up your ad goals, audience, budget, duration, and payment method.
Keep in mind that depending on what audience you target, your results will vary. If you’re going for a US audience, these ads are VERY expensive. But if you’re going for a global audience, it will cost much, much less.
You can spend a couple of bucks on ads a month or hundreds. Some travel bloggers put in $300-$500 in Facebook Ads every month and they have HUGE pages and followings due to it. The sky here is the limit! (or your wallet I should say).
7. Internal Linking
If you already have some traffic coming to your blog – that is awesome! And something you should take advantage of via internal linking.
If a person is reading a blog post on ‘Best things to do in Big Sur‘, once they’re finished with it, they might want to see more information such as ‘Best places to stay in Big Sur‘ or ‘Campgrounds in Big Sur‘. The more related posts you can write and link to, the better user experience you will provide and retain that reader to stay on your blog longer instead of exiting out to look up the subject again.
Internal linking is free self-promotion that you should do for every post. The more internal links you can build to a blog post, the more traffic it’s bound to receive. Internal linking is also a great SEO-building tool because it allows Google to understand the structure of your website better.
I try to internally link in the opening, several times throughout the article, and at the end of the article in a ‘Related Posts‘ section.
8. Update The Home Page
Similar to internal linking, your home page is a great place for some self-promotion and marketing. For years I neglected my home page and I didn’t take advantage of the extra traffic it was receiving.
After putting a bit of effort into re-designing the home page with seasonal and trending posts, now the Home Page is one of the top viewed pages on this website.
When readers end up on the Home Page, it is often due to name and brand recognition. But if you don’t have a decent home page set up, you could be missing out on extra Page Views as readers will click out if there is nothing there to catch their interest.
9. Add Social Share Buttons
If you have a blog and you want your readers to share your posts on social media channels, make it easy to do so! I recommend adding Social Sharing Buttons by installing a Plug-In. You can add them at the top of a blog post, on the sidebar, or at the end of the post.
I use the Grow Social by Mediavine Plug-In to add customized social sharing buttons at the end of the articles that match my blog’s color scheme.
10. HARO – Help a Reporter Out
When your website is new, building links to your new ‘baby’ blog is an important practice that will significantly boost your ranking. While building backlinks is not always easy, having big websites link to your blog can increase the Domain Authority score and land you on page 1 of Google.
You can build backlinks by networking with other travel bloggers, doing interviews, guest podcasts, and joining Facebook groups.
Another way to build backlinks is through HARO (Help A Reporter Out) email service. HARO connects journalists with sources (aka you) via daily emails that go out in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. If you’re an expert in a field, you can reply to those emails and potentially be featured in major magazines and websites.
By using this email service, you could land a feature in a major news outlet potentially leading to leads and clicks to your site.
11. Tik Tok & YouTube
If you’re into video format, Tik Tok and YouTube are great platforms for creating buzz and brand awareness. I just started dipping my toes into creating content for Tik Tok and when a video goes viral, it can send many clicks to your website. Just be sure to add your website name in the bio!
Although not many travel bloggers create content for YouTube (because most of us writers are major introverts and the thought of vlogging makes us terrified…or is that just me?!), YouTube generates one of the most loyal audiences from any platform out there. It can take a while to get going on YouTube, but once you gain momentum, you can see some serious growth that often trickles into other platforms.
12. Ad More Content
All of the strategies that I covered above are great for promoting a blog, but they can also be very time-consuming. Don’t get too wrapped up in marketing strategies that you put off doing the #1 thing that can grow your blog – adding more content!
Nothing grows a website faster than publishing more blog posts.
I hope these tips have helped guide you in the right direction of how to start promoting your travel blog. If all this feels overwhelming and like a LOT of information – it’s because it is!
It’s taken me YEARS to grow both of my blogs and social media following so it’s certainly not an overnight journey. Just start with the areas that interest you the most and learn as you go! It’s all about progress, not perfection.
Even if day to day you feel like you’re not making progress – believe me, YOU ARE. The blogging field is like a marathon, not a sprint. With consistent work ethic, dedication and perseverance you will start seeing the results over time.
And keep in mind that while these strategies have worked for me, other travel bloggers have a completely different approach to growing their blogs. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to creative work. Everyone’s goals and strategies are different so do what feels best to you.
Are you a travel blogger? We would love to hear your suggestions and tips in the comments below!
Recommended Travel Blogging Tools
- SiteGround. We use SiteGround to store all of our website data and have been since the beginning of our blogging days. SiteGround has cheap prices, a great user interface, and the best customer service in the industry with 24-hour day service and quick response time.
- NameCheap. At Namecheap, you can register new domain names. I recommend getting a domain that has a “.com” at the end and avoiding “.net”, “.org” or any other variations.
- Rank IQ. If there is one blogging tool that you should invest in, it’s Rank IQ. This tool makes keyword research so easy by giving you all the top-ranking keywords for every niche on a silver platter. I also love the Rank IQ content grader feature that shows how to improve your blog posts to rank on Google’s Page 1.
- Tailwind. Tailwind is a social media management tool where I schedule all of my Pinterest pins for the week and re-share content from other travel bloggers.
- MailerLite. MailerLite is a budget-friendly email marketing service that is free for up to 1000 subscribers and comes with beautiful preset email templates.
- AIOSEO Plugin. All in One SEO plugin has a handy section in WordPress where you can fill in the Post Title, Meta Description, Focus Keyphrase, and see what “SEO score” the plugin assigns you.
- Canva. Canva is great for creating visuals for social media. Canva has a free version that is easy to use and comes with excellent templates.
- Grammarly. This is software that checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors – a must-have for bloggers!
Recommended Travel Camera Gear
Interested in stepping up your photography game? Here is the camera gear that I carry everywhere I go to create amazing travel photos:
- Main camera: Sony a7c Camera. The Sony a7c is tiny, light, full-frame, durable – in other words, amazing!
- Polarizer Filter: Hoya 40.5 mm Filter. Polarizing filters reduce glare in water, protect the lens from getting scratched and bring out the best colors when it’s bright outside. Having a polarizing filter is a must-have if you plan to photograph lakes, oceans, rivers, and waterfalls.
- Wide Lens: Sony 16-35 mm F4. Great for capturing wide panoramas, nature landscapes, and cramped city streets. Mounts to any Sony mirrorless camera and features autofocus, image stabilization, and incredibly sharp images.
- Lightweight Travel Tripod: Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Tripod. A good tripod is essential for capturing images in low light conditions, such as during sunset and sunrise, or creating smooth water effects when shooting waterfalls. The Manfrotto Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is very sturdy, light, and folds small so you can take it on all of your adventures!
- Memory Cards: SanDisk Extreme 256 GB. It’s always good to bring a few extra memory cards on trips. SanDisk Extreme is ultra fast for capturing high-quality images, bursts, long exposure night shots, and 4k videos. This memory card is also durable and reliable yet very affordable.
- Camera Batteries: Wasabi Power Battery Set. I’ve made the mistake of getting to a location to realize my camera is out of battery. Always keep your batteries charged with this camera charger set!
- Camera Bag: Lowepro adventure shoulder bag. A camera bag is something you should definitely invest in! Without having a proper place to store it I would get my camera scratched, sandy, or even occasionally drop it.
Looking for more tips & inspiration? Here are a few of our other popular blog posts that you may like:
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- How To Make Money While Living In A Van
- How To Write a Travel Blog That Ranks
- 10 Things You Should Know Before Living In A Van
- The Ultimate Solo Female Van Life Guide
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