The real side of travel blogging

I’ve been in the blogging game for about 6 months now. And let me assure you it’s not a game. All those glamorous travellers your see online, telling you how easy it is. Well seriously, it’s not like that in the real world and it takes a lot of hard work, patience and sheer determination.

So why is it so difficult?

From a reader’s perspective, it’s simply go on holiday, take a few photos and write about your experience. Maybe that’s a couple of hours work, isn’t it?

Sorry but I’m going to tell you different. Here’s how it works for me:

Booking, travelling and photography

Book my trip – well that’s time in itself, deciding where to go, finding the best deal. But we’ve all done that so I won’t dwell on how long that takes because you all know!

Depending what stage you are at blogging and more importantly how many monthly readers and social media followers you have. I sometimes will contact hostels or tour companies to see if they want to work with me. So will send emails (along with Media Kit) to prospective customers.

Now I arrived at my destination. Time to explore and seek out those awesome spots for photos. I admit I love my photos so I will happily spend 30 minutes trying to get the perfect shot.

And once I’ve taken all those awesome photos. Now it’s the fun editing. I take a lot of photos in order to get the best one. But this also means extra time picking the best and editing.

Drafting, proof-reading and SEO

Back home, I start drafting my post – this is normally a complete brain dump of everything I want to say on the topic. And I can do all at once or over a couple of writing sessions

Once I’ve completed my draft now it’s time to start being brutal and really edit what I’ve written. Taking out all those extra words you keep putting in. For me it’s ‘just’, you wouldn’t believe how many times that appears in my writing. I wish I could just leave it out!

SEO keyword research can appear at any point in my writing phase. I don’t like it to distract me too much when I am writing but at some point it’s got to be done.

Now I am getting happier with the copy, it’s time to start formatting my post. Putting headers in, bold and italics to help certain points stand out and make it easier for you readers. Maybe a few sections with bullet points or numbers to help the reader again.

My carefully edited photos come next. But not until after I have resized and compressed them so that the files don’t blow up my website and cause it to run at the speed of a snail. I download the majority of my photos on Flickr and upload from there. This means I keep high quality photos without overloading my site. Another thing I quickly learned in the early stages of blogging!

And lastly, I need to remember to add some external and internal links. Another great way to boost your SEO.

Are you getting tired? I’m not finished yet!

Social media preparation

Wording written, photos added. I can post it right? Nope sorry, I need to add all my ‘Alt’ descriptions to my photos and update the Meta description. I appreciate I may have lost some of you here but seriously this stuff all needs updating.

Almost ready, but now I need to create an amazing pin for my readers to add it to their Pinterest boards. Pinterest is an awesome platform used my millions of people every day. So I then find a great images, add some text and now add this to my blog. Along with key words in the description to help people search for it.

Marketing and social media

This is it, after hours of work I can finally hit publish. Yippee, my work is done. Well not quite, there’s still all the marketing to do on the various social media channels that I am juggling. I will talk about that another time as it’s far too scary to add into this post.

Post it to Facebook, twitter and Instagram. Or wherever else you want. And wait for it to go viral.

Are you still waiting? I would love to know the percentage of blogs that go viral but honestly it can’t be that many. In my 6 months I’ve had one post go semi-viral. And let me tell you it was the most exciting thing that happened that day. I was constantly clicking refresh on my stats and watching the numbers go up. Well it’s important to enjoy the highs as well as the lows.

Dream big, work hard but stay happy

If only that was every blog post I would be laughing all the way to the bank! So why do I write, why do I put all this time and effort in?

I’m hoping one day my dreams will come true and I can turn my travel blog into a real business. If not, then I need to remember I’m doing something that I love and it makes me happy.

So follow your dreams if you want to start a travel blog (or any blog for that matter) but just remember it’s not as easy as those top bloggers make it seem. Good luck.

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