In 1994, Jeff Greenwald used his battery-powered laptop to upload the first travel blog post ever published on the World Wide Web, thus kicking off this intrepid traveler’s journey around the globe, and forever changing the way the world travels.
Travel blogs emerged from the dawn of the Internet 28 years ago, and today everyone with a computer seems to be wondering how to make money as a travel blogger? Travel blog ideas are everywhere. From amateur content creators to professional writers, advice and tips from travel blogs have found a way to complement and blend in with the our obsessive social media habits.
So, what’s the next step? And how to stand out as a travel blog with credibility and a unique angle?
Every industry has had a life cycle, while no one can tell if we’ve seen a peak in blogging, it’s safe to say that with the steady rise in the number of travel bloggers, the industry is reaching a point of saturation!
Let’s start with some general blogging stats
About 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages every month. That means each page has an average chance of only 0.02% to be viewed each month!
So how many blogs are there right now? While not all platforms have opted to share their data publicly, past statistics put the number at around 500 million (although this number also includes inactive sites, which affects the accuracy of the statistic.)
One thing’s for sure: at this rate, we’ll be celebrating 1 billion blogs soon! That’s roughly one blog for every seven people on the planet.
With so much competition, what travel blog ideas can help me gain readers?
It’s clear that we have an overwhelming amount of travel blog content to choose from. In order to continuously acquire traffic and stay relevant in such a highly competitive environment, as a travel blogger, you may have to dedicate more and more time to using various SEO tools to figure out:
- What are blog readers searching for?
- What exactly does Google like?
- How can I find better keywords to showcase on my travel blog?
However, in the process of pursuing advanced blog marketing techniques, many travel bloggers have ignored an essential question: How to make your content more genuine, authentic, and in line with the needs of readers?
Imagine readers wandering through such a vast ocean of travel blog content every day. Does the available information solve all their problems? Or what behaviors have caused them to gradually change? And what potential needs arise from this?
Before answering these questions, as a travel blogger, you should first have a clear understanding of your target reader’s persona. What kind of customer journey can your content and information bring to them? For example, ask yourself few key questions like:
- Do your readers usually choose to read your blog before or during travel?
- Which kind of travel tips and content are most popular with readers?
- How many visitors read your blog because they saw your Instagram or Pinterest?
Questions like this are very, very important, especially if you want to figure out how to make money as a travel blogger ! ! ! Remember, there is no one person in this world who can please everyone, so you need to focus your energy on the right readers. Spreading your travel blog ideas in to the world with no objective and no clear point of view is not advised.
The better you understand the above questions, the better you get at defining your own direction and pace to help and satisfy your target readers.
Next, let’s dissect one of the most important questions, and understand how important it is to improve existing content.
Do readers visit your blog before or during travel?
Infographic courtesy of Travelport
Every traveler journey has six key stages –
- Post trip
At each of these stages, travellers will engage in a series of interactions with blog content and travel services, and experience hundreds of touch points.
If you’re not a travel blogger with enough resources and team members, please don’t waste time trying to cover all touch points with your content. Instead, try to focus on the stage that you’re BEST at!
Travel Inspiration Stage
Travellers usually want to know the weather of the destination, the seasons suitable for travel, and the main reasons to travel to that location. They’re looking for someone to show them a photo or an article that convinces them this is a place worth the journey.
This stage is about discovery and envisioning the perfect holiday. If many of your readers are exposed to your blog at this stage, you can quickly check your existing blogs to see if they have relevant content to ignite a desire for wanderlust. Maybe you only need to add some local knowledge to optimize the reader expectations.
Travel Shopping Stage
This should be the main battleground for most travel bloggers. As you can see from the infographic, this is the stage where the first pain point appears – too many choices!
Why do the views of blog with pictures increase by 94% compared with articles without visual components? And why do 43% of readers increasingly want bloggers to provide video content? This is because in the face of massive amounts of text information, pictures and videos can be remembered! But does this completely solve the ‘too many options’ pain point?
The answer is – NOT REALLY
We interviewed over one hundred travellers (ages 24-35), and one of the things they were most confused about during the shopping stage was ‘How to save my favorite travel blog content?’ 64% of respondents said that at the shopping stage they spent a lot of time reading blogs. Yet they still suffered from not being able to organize and store useful information for later, and ultimately lost track of a lot of content.
If your travel blog content is list of places to visit or stay, try using NanoWhat for a free tool to convert blog content directly into Google Maps. It means travellers can download your lists of cool places instantly to their phone after reading your blog. Let them save it for later, and never worry about losing content, or spending time searching again.
Travel Booking Stage
At this stage, travellers often search major booking platforms, and put the information collected in the shopping stage in to these platforms to compare prices. A common pain point at this stage is determining ‘is this the best time to book?’ OR ‘how to book the better price?’
If your target audience is reading your blog at this stage, check your existing blogs for content related to hotels, Airbnb, transportation, etc. If you can give readers tips on booking, maybe just an extra one or two sentences, it could greatly help readers clarify their doubts!
Travel Pre-Trip & In-Trip Stages
These are usually the most emotional stages for travellers, and of course, the trip (soon) begins!!!
Travellers in these two stages usually have hotel rooms, air tickets, and major transportation already booked. At this time, another peak period for reading blogs begins – searching for food, drink and other things to do. If you’re looking for new travel blog ideas, try to come up with a way to frame your content which makes it easy for readers to access information on the go from their phone.
If many of your target audience read your blog at this stage, then you need to understand their pain points at this stage:
- The search window is getting shorter, they need to make a decision in a relatively short period of time
- What to play? Where to eat?
- Is the restaurant they want to eat at far from where they’re staying?
The best way to solve this pain point is to add a map to each of your blogs. A curated list of locations can be bookmarked on their phone, placing each of the places on a Google Map. This helps readers make judgments quickly and more effectively.
Readers are no longer satisfied with only a single travel blogger’s opinion. Many travellers need more reviews. The reason is simple: 62.96% of readers think blogs with multiple authors are more credible. According to data, 94% of travel blogs currently have product placements. So, readers like to read review sites such as Google Maps Reviews and Tripadvisor at this stage
When solving these pain points, if your website cannot support inserting a map directly into each blog. Consider the free neighbourhood map tool from NanoWhat, to make it more convenient for readers to save your list of hidden gems. It also enhances your recommended content by syncing it with Google Maps. After reading your blog and saving it, readers can check millions of Google reviews at the same time! Using this travel blog idea can help you retain readers and increase loyalty to your website!
Finally, while we’re fiercely aware of the high competition and saturated market behind the travel blogger industry, let’s take a look at some inspiring data that encourages us to continue to innovate! It’s important to remind ourselves why we started blogging in the first place – to make worthwhile content that serves our readers and community.
- Over 80% of travel planning is done via the Internet and the number is growing
- 33% of U.S. travellers use travel blogs for travel advice
- Guest content is more in demand during the summer months of June, July and August
We need readers, and readers also need us.
Trying to better understand the potential needs of readers can help us adjust tactics to provide content that makes people satisfied. Walk at forefront of the evolution of travel blogs, and be a travel trendsetter instead of a follower.
The travel market is never static, it is forever moving. What the audience wants today is not necessarily what they want tomorrow.During your quest to understand how to make money as a travel blogger, don’t loose sight of the fact that -whether it’s through text, photos, short videos, or maps – pivoting your content in order to give the customer what they really NEED is always the king!