While social media platforms come and go, the world of blogging has been growing steadily over the last years and has been popular since the early 2000s. While it’s definitely more difficult to become a full-time blogger today than it was a few years ago you also need to consider that the potential audience for your blog has never been larger therefore making it a fantastic time to start blogging. Before you make the first steps to start your own blog you should consider the different types of travel blogs there are and which one will be the best fit for you. I could have saved myself a lot of time and research if I’d have known that not all travel blogs are actually the same. It’s really important for your blog’s branding to have a clear plan from the beginning so consider carefully what path you want to take.
WHY YOU SHOULD START BLOGGING
If you’re still on the fence about starting your own blog I highly recommend giving it a go. The freedom to work from anywhere and to make your own daily routine is a huge benefit and makes all the hard work worth it. If you enjoy writing and are excited to learn about all the different parts of blogging then this could be a fantastic choice for you. Plus blogging doesn’t have to be expensive! You can get started with less than 100$ or even for free if you’re not ready to commit just yet.
TYPES OF TRAVEL BLOGS
Travel blogs can essentially be divided into six different types. Some of them overlap and your blog can definitely fit more than one category. There isn’t a type of travel blog that is necessarily better than another and all of these can be successful in their own way. Here are my recommendations on who should start which type of blog:
- Personal travel blog: beginners who aren’t sure about blogging. people who want to blog for fun
- Non-unique travel blog: those who want to create a business quickly, experienced bloggers wanting to create a second website, those who don’t actually have as much time to travel
- Platform travel blogs: people who like organising but not so much writing, those who already have a travel blog but want to outsource some of the work
- Unique travel blogs: people who love writing and travelling, those who are willing to invest a lot fo time and effort
1. PERSONAL TRAVEL BLOGS
When people think of a travel blog they probably think of an online diary that is in chronological order and is a place for you to tell your travel stories. Most people start a personal travel blog when they go on longer trips or gap years to keep their friends and family updated. These blogs are usually hosted on a free platform and have a very minimal web design. While most of them are amateur blogs that are abandoned eventually there are some that manage to monetize their personal travel blogs. These, however, tend to be either authors who already have an audience on social media or who started their blog a very long time ago and have gradually built a following. Personal travel blogs were some of the first types of blogs out there but their novelty soon wore off. Now, with millions of competitors this travel blog type is arguable the most difficult to monetise and grow.
The problem with personal travel blogs is that they do not solve a problem and therefore SEO can be really tricky to implement. The majority of personal blog posts do not show up on search engine results unless they’re really unique. If you’re still keen to share your personal travel stories my advice would be to combine them with more subjective and helpful posts that will drive traffic. Once you build an audience you can gradually increase the level of personal content to see if it resonates with your readers. If your stories are really unique you could also try to get them published in larger travel magazines instead which will help you get a platform a lot more quickly.
Of course, profit isn’t the number 1 priority for everyone so if you just enjoy blogging and don’t care too much about the numbers definitely start your own personal travel blog. There are always exceptions to the rule and I believe that if you have something interesting to say you’ll find your audience somewhere. There are definitely incredibly successful personal travel bloggers out there.
2. NON-UNIQUE TRAVEL BLOGS
When I first started my blog I was always really worried about not having enough to write about. What I didn’t know is that a large amount of travel blogs online are not actually written by people who have visited the places in the articles. If you don’t have as much travel experience as you might like you could start a non-unique travel blog which acts as a sort of round-up of information that is already available online. These types of travel blogs come in different forms and some are easier to spot than others. Consider this: You want to write about the best things to do in New York City but you’ve never actually been there before. You could spend some time reading the top articles on the first page of Google about what to do in NYC and then write your own article from the information you read (without copying an article of course). Then you go to a stock photo site and add in images. Just like that you have a blog post about a place you’ve never been to before and the majority of your readers will probably not be able to tell if you’ve done your job well.
SHOULD YOU START A NON-UNIQUE TRAVEL BLOG?
Non-unique travel blogs don’t tend to have the best reputation because they essentially just recycle information. However, they aren’t necessarily bad and there are plenty of really successful ones out there. Again, if done well the reader won’t even notice that the article doesn’t contain unique information. A lot of large corporations utilise this tactic to flood Google with their articles and drive their rankings up. These blog posts are usually well-keyworded with impeccable SEO making the main purpose to rank as highly as possible and not to actually help the reader.
Non-unique travel blogs might be the easiest way to grow a blog quickly with minimal effort. You don’t actually have to go anywhere to gather content ideas and you can write exactly what your audience even if their needs change. However, it can be difficult to find a unique perspective and make your blog stand out. In the end, non-unique travel blogs are content farms that can be highly successful but not as authentic as those with information that came from the source.
3. PLATFORM TRAVEL BLOGS
Platform travel blogs are blogs that have a large number of writers who create content. This means very diverse topics that apply to a wide range of different audiences and again, not as much effort for the blog owner. Most platform blogs tend to start out as either unique or non-unique travel blogs and then gradually add more writers making them more of a platform than an individual blog. They come in different forms. Sometimes the blog just has its own roster of paid writers who regularly create content. Others actively invite their community to participate and submit content which results in a higher volume but also a reduced quantity of posts. A platform travel blog can be tricky to start for beginners because it does require some financial investments or a lot of time to recruit writers. You most likely will have to come up with content yourself in the beginning until you have enough writers to help you out.
4. UNIQUE TRAVEL BLOGS
Unique travel blogs are in my opinion the most user-oriented and useful for actual travel research. Guide your Travel is a unique travel blog and it has always been important to me to avoid turning it into a non-unique or platform blog. In this case, unique means that all the content and blog posts are based on first-hand experience. Most unique blogs have occasional guest posts or collaborations but the majority of everything that’s posted comes from the author and their own travels. This type of blog usually has the most helpful information because it’s detailed and gives real-life advice. These types of travel blogs can have personal elements but mostly focus on travel information. In contrast to platform travel blogs, they have one (or two) authors which keeps the content consistent and establishes a sense of trustworthiness for the reader who trusts the authors’ judgement.
Unique travel blogs are by far the most time-consuming to operate because they do require some level of travel consistently. You need to come up with new content all the time so new trips are a necessity. These blogs also usually have a very distinct niche and implement a high level of SEO.
Again, a lot of blogs start out as unique travel blogs and are then slowly transformed into non-unique or platform blogs. This can be a smart move if the blog has built a considerable audience and is meant to bring in passive income rather than producing a lot of work.
5. NON-FOCUS TRAVEL BLOGS
For me, Guide your Travel is my main focus and I would describe myself as a blogger before anything else. However, many people actually start out on social media, or as photographers or something similar in the travel niche. They usually end up making a website with a blog section that is meant to implement SEO and drive new traffic to the site. This would be a non-focus travel blog as it’s not meant to be at the centre of attention but is more of a side-project. These blogs are usually updated less frequently and contain short and easy-to-consume content. Having a non-focus travel blog is highly recommended for anyone selling anything online. This could a physical product, a digital product or even services. It helps make your website feel up-to-date and gives you more content to work with for SEO. Eventually, you could expand your blog and turn it into a unique travel blog