Blond Wayfarer turns 9 months old today!
I began this website on May 23, 2015 because my teaching career temporarily flew off the rails, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of life anymore.
Previously, I’d blogged on livejournal (neeeeerd) for roughly 6 years throughout high school and college. So I wasn’t a complete stranger to the wonderful world of online journals. I figured travel blogging would fill a void in my life, and went to Blue Host to purchase this domain.
Ever since I left graduate school, I seem to make travel-related decisions every year. In 2012, I only dreamed of solo travel, being too shy and uncertain to actually book a damn ticket, but I went on family trips (still awesome, fyi) and read travel blogs. In 2013, I booked the best solo trip to Scotland. This journey changed my perspective on how important it is for us to seize the moment and make memories, alone if necessary, that’ll last a lifetime. In 2014, I began the facebook page for Blond Wayfarer, but chickened out and forgot it even existed.
And then in 2015, Blond Wayfarer was launched for real.
I find it so hard to believe that my baby’s almost a year old! Adventurous Kate’s post “The Reality of Being a Professional Travel Blogger” mentions that many travel bloggers give up within a year due to the time commitment involved in running a website. And I think she’s absolutely right.
As a new travel blogger, I’ve learned quite a few lessons about dedication and passion, and why both those things are essential if you ever want your website to grow.
It’s embarrassing as hell, but the truth of the matter is I’m a lazy person. Remember me writing one post for the duration of my 7 week Central Europe trip? Or my radio silence at the beginning of the school year? It’s a damn good thing I’m passionate about travel because otherwise this blog would be banished to an even more obscure corner of the internet.
To have a successful blog, you can’t be lazy. Period. It’s a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way. I’d probably have far more followers if I had been consistent in the earlier months. Don’t make my mistakes.
Sometimes, like many of us trying to break into a saturated field, I feel impatient. I want readers, I want followers, I want page views, but I’m not always willing to wait for the numbers. I want them now! Ain’t gonna happen. I haven’t proven myself an investment yet.
Needless to say, travel blogging has been an eye-opening experience, one which has forced me to come to terms with two facts: popularity doesn’t always come easily, even on the internet, and producing good content needs to come first before a dedicated audience decides to take a chance on you.
I don’t normally talk about the business aspects of owning a travel blog. Lots of writers dream of the day when they can travel the world for free and write about their adventures. Makes sense, right?
As for me, I don’t know where my travel blog will lead me, but I’m definitely having a lot of fun making friends who share the same travel values I do! I wouldn’t give up this website for anything!
So it’s time for a pep talk! Right now I don’t make any money off this blog but it’s okay. And, all you new traveler bloggers, better not give up even if you’re flat broke.
There’s a niche for you. Trust me, travel blogging may seem like a packed market, but space exists for your voices, your ideas, your opinions. You just gotta get creative. Don’t write about what’s been done to death. General “I quit my job to be a nomad!” type blogs aren’t exactly creative or unique. Neither are “I travel the world to eat lots of food” blogs. Even solo female travel has been done to death at this point.
Be an authority on specialized aspects of travel instead. For example, my goal is to be an authority on literary travel, traveling with hypochondria, traveling with a fear of flying, and part time travel, to name a few.
I believe in you. Don’t give up.
Ways to Stay Motivated as a New Travel Blogger
- Join some enjoyable travel chats on twitter. Twitter’s travel chats are a great way to earn followers in the beginning. Trust me, it’s reassuring to see those numbers go up after a few tweets. These chats are always a great way for you to discover new blogs and readers.
- Interact with the established travel blogger community. I’m a member of Travel Blog Success, and the facebook group keeps me motivated to push forward even when I don’t wanna write. We all support each other. Blogging is a lonely business if you attempt it alone. Also, being part of the community helps you make connections with more popular bloggers. Don’t target them as your audience, that’s a waste of time, but learn from them and interact with them. The right retweet from the right blogger at the right time can bring tons of new page views and followers. Worth it.
- Remember why you’re travel blogging. If you’re seeking fame and fortune, you’re probably better off in another field. You need to feel passionate about travel; otherwise your site will fizzle in two months. Don’t waste your time professionally blogging about travel if exploring the world isn’t a priority for you. There are book bloggers, mom bloggers, food bloggers, running bloggers, fashion bloggers. Write about where your heart belongs. It’s where your voice shines the most.
Are you a new travel blogger? What challenges have you faced in your first few months of blogging? What advice would you add to this post?