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Dear New Travel Bloggers: Don’t Give Up

new travel bloggers don't give up

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.

new travel bloggers don't give up

I’m so tired of writing.

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.

new travel bloggers don't give up

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.

new travel bloggers don't give up

Ways to Stay Motivated as a New Travel Blogger

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?

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26 Responses to Dear New Travel Bloggers: Don’t Give Up

  1. Adventurous Kate February 23, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi, Rachel —

    Congratulations on making it this far!

    I think you have a fantastic voice. Voice is the one single thing that cannot be faked or half-assed. You’re the real deal. I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with your blog!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 23, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

      Thank you so much!! 🙂 I can’t wait to see where my blog takes me, too! These 9 months have already been a big adventure, haha. Your travel blog is one of my favorites, by the way, and helps me stay super motivated to become an even better writer!

      See you around the TBS facebook group!

  2. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine February 23, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

    This is exactly the post I needed to read today, Rachel. Balancing grad school and blogging is really really tough for me right now. And it’s easy to toss my blog to the side. But I care so much about it that I’ve just got to be a little less lazy about it!

    I’d love to know some twitter travel chats you like. I participate in a couple, but none travel related. Those might be fun. 🙂

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 23, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh dear god, graduate school made me wanna blow my brains out, especially toward the end. I totally understand your pain. Hang in there. It’ll be done soon. What’s your degree in?

      As for twitter chats, RTWChat, TOTT, and JAChat are some of my favorites! They’re all casual and fun.

      Also, I saw on your twitter profile that you’re based in Philadelphia! I live pretty close to the city myself. 🙂 It’s one of my favorites and has gotten so much representation on Lonely Planet lately.

  3. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine February 24, 2016 at 5:47 pm #

    I’m getting my Masters in Exercise Physiology and I cannot WAIT to be done. I really love the subject, but I just can’t muster up any more enthusiasm about school or anything to do with it. Yikes.

    I’m going to have to look at all of these! For some reason I didn’t realize that TTOT was an actual Twitter chat. D’oh. And yes! I live in Center City. 🙂 We have our ups and downs, the city and I, but right now we’re in a really good spot. If you’re ever in town let me know!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm #

      Wishing you lots of luck! I completely understand your pain. But once you have that degree, no one can take it away from you, which is a pretty empowering thought.

      I’ll definitely let you know if I’m in Philly!

  4. Sara February 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

    This is such a lovely post! I’m so happy I found your blog. I am also a teacher and recent events have left me feeling pretty “blegh” about my life, including (especially) my job/career. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll last in this field and I’m hoping to move into more full-time travel soon. I just started my travel blog last week and this post is so encouraging.

    PS. I also wrote on Livejournal alllllllll through college!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 25, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

      Teaching is a rough gig. Sure, the time off is fabulous, but you need to be “on” all day long and it’s exhausting. I love my students, but some days I wanna stay in bed. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do in your career. And thanks for visiting!

      PS: LJ was the best ever!!

  5. Tim February 26, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    Congrats on 9 months! This post was a great read since my blog is still in its infant stages. It’s nice to get some inspiration from time to time!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 26, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

      Thanks so much! You have some beautiful photos, btw! Stick with it! Us new travel bloggers have a lot going for us if we stay committed.

  6. Dave February 26, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

    So happy to see you’re sticking with it! I can’t believe I’m now in my 10th year of running a travel blog. If travel weren’t my passion (along with a healthy enjoyment of WordPress), I’d never have stuck with it this long. Despite the growth in popularity, I still believe, as you said, everyone can find their own unique approach to writing about their experiences.

    Glad you’re enjoying the community at Travel Blog Success too!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

      WOW. 10 years? That is incredible!

      And yes, I definitely believe bloggers can find their own unique approaches to travel, especially if they stick true to their voices. We’re all different! The more quality blogs, the merrier.

      And thank you! I absolutely love TBS! You all have built such a wonderful, supportive community.

  7. Arindam February 26, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

    Thank you for the tip!!!
    Patience as they say is the key

  8. Carly's Adventures Afar February 26, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

    What a great pep talk for the newbies in the travel blogging world, like me! Thanks Rachel 🙂

    When I started blogging I was blown away at how much time it took. But when a reader finds one of my posts helpful or interesting it’s such an incredible feeling!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

      Thanks so much for visiting! Whenever I receive a comment, it makes my entire day better. Travel blogging is a ton of work but if I encourage one person to go on an adventure, then I’ve done my job! 🙂 The readers make travel blogging so enjoyable.

  9. Caitlin February 27, 2016 at 1:38 am #

    Getting lazy – totally get you! Sometimes it’s just hard to fit everything in, and when you’re roaming around a country and just need a moment to chill out, staring at a computer is the last thing you want to do!

    Congrats on the 9 months!!

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 27, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

      Oh man. I hear you. When I was in Central Europe, there were some super hot days, and when I returned to the hostel, all I wanted to do was sleep. I completely failed at updating this blog! It was so sad! Ah, well. You learn.

      And thank you!! I appreciate you visiting me! 🙂

  10. Anna February 27, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    I should hide and cry. I’ve doing this for a year and still trying to figure it out. Well done! And happy travels
    http://www.postcardsfromtheworld.com/

    • Rachel Elizabeth February 27, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

      Awww, don’t hide and cry! You can do it! There’s soooo much to learn. I’m still trying to figure most of travel blogging out!

      Thanks for visiting, Anna!

  11. Ella February 28, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    I think you’re doing very well indeed! Especially for someone who’s only been at it for 9 months! It’s clear that you’ve come a very long way in a short period of time and I’m sure that you serve as an inspiration to many of us. Including me who has been at it for over a year and is only now occasionally getting double-digit views somewhat consistently haha. You’re doing great and I don’t think you have anything to worry about ????

  12. Sarah March 8, 2016 at 10:20 pm #

    Ahhh I so needed to read this! Sometimes I feel as though I am writing to no body although have only been at it for a couple of weeks – I have a long road ahead! Thanks for the great post Rachel! xx

  13. Louis March 11, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    Thanks for a nice motivational post. I like what you said about fostering a sense of community within the blogging world. It is important for us to see what others are doing to learn from them but not to necessarily seek their validation. Like you said there is a niche for all of our voices.

    • Rachel Elizabeth March 12, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      Louis —

      I couldn’t agree more! I love that the travel blogging community is so diverse.

  14. Lindsay @ Let Me Give You Some Advice April 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank you! I’m a new travel blogger (family travel in the Midwest) and you’re right, it is a lot of hard work. It’s nice know that putting in the time now is going to pay off. I am enjoying finding my community which makes it much easier to keep going.

  15. Suzy McCullough July 15, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    Well said. Thanks for saying all this because I needed this today. It can be just as hard to get into the niche travel categories as it can to build your audience though. I’ve just started to earn a little money from mine. I just hope I can get somewhere further with it soon so that people really start to take notice as I love sharing what we get up to. Keep up the good work. Suzy x

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