10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Travel Blog

Little pieces of information that everyone should know before starting a travel blog!

It has never been easier to become a travel blogger.

With widespread internet, affordable technology, and the ease of travel, anyone can start a travel blog!

I’ve had this blog for about 5 years now, and I am constantly learning more and more about the world of blogging. 

When I started my blog, I didn’t have ANY knowledge of blogging. I also didn’t have any goals or intentions for this blog. 

I really enjoyed academic writing in school, so I just created this platform and wrote articles for fun. 

Once I started traveling, I started reading more travel blogs myself. I grew to love the informative posts and breathtaking photos I’d see online, so I slowly started implementing those into my own blog. 

Now that I’ve started investing more time and a bit of money into my blog, it’s hilarious to look back on how naive I was when I started. 

I’m really proud of where my blog is today, and I’m excited to see it grow as I continue to educate myself and work hard on it. 

But, I can’t help but wonder how much farther along I’d be in this journey if I had done a bit of research at the beginning. 

So for anyone thinking of starting a travel blog, here are the things I wish I had known at the beginning!

If you love traveling, writing, and photography, a travel blog may be perfect for you!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting A Travel Blog 

I am by no means a blogging expert. But I have been consistently working on my blog for five years and I’ve learned so much. 

I’ve also made lots of mistakes. So I hope this article helps other novice bloggers avoid these mistakes. 

If you’ve already started your travel blog, you can implement most of these changes at any time. But you’ll save yourself a lot of editing work if you just nail down these 10 points at the beginning of your blogging journey. 

The first point is the most important, and this one you MUST consider before creating your blog if you want to see success down the line. 

starting a travel blog queensland Australia
I’ve come a long way since I first started my blog in 2015. Here are the 10 things I wish I knew at the start!

1. Buy The Right Domain

This is a piece of blogging knowledge that I learned far too late. 

Your domain is the most important piece of your travel blog. It is the core of your website. Every bit of success your blog makes is tied to your domain name. 

Because I wasn’t serious about travel blogging when I started, I just picked a random WordPress domain: gabbyboucher12.wordpress.com. 

There are a few problems with this domain. 

Domains with “.wordpress.com” in them are free, so they’re a safe bet for starting a travel blog. 

But they don’t look professional. And they show you aren’t willing to invest in your own domain.

Another problem is the random “12” I threw in there. Your domain is what people type into the search bar when they want to visit your website. You want your domain to be straightforward and memorable

My current domain, gabbyboucher.com, still isn’t ideal. It’s just my name, so it does make sense. But it’s not memorable for people who don’t know me. And it doesn’t showcase the purpose of my blog: budget travel.

I have tried to change my domain, but this brings me to the second tip I wish I knew before starting a travel blog. 

2. Don’t Change Your Domain!

Every time you change your domain, you are basically resetting your blog’s reputation to zero. 

For anyone starting a travel blog, there are two terms I want you to know: backlinks and Domain Authority. 

Backlinks

If you want to grow your travel blog and rank higher on search engines, you need backlinks. 

Backlinks are when other websites include a link to your website. 

You can gain backlinks by writing guest posts for other websites, or taking photos for other websites. 

As long as another website links to your blog, it helps your rankings. 

Domain Authority

DA is like a grade for your blog. It’s basically a prediction for how well your blog will rank with search engines. 

DA is a number between 1 and 100. Established blogs with lots of backlinks have higher numbers and new blogs without any backlinks have low numbers. 

Just Google Search “Domain Authority Checker” to find yours! (Moz is a really helpful SEO tool that also has a Domain Authority analysis.

The purpose of these two terms is this: when you change your domain, your DA is starting back at 0. 

Any backlinks you had to your old domain will not be transferred to your new domain.

So if you want your travel blog to grow, pick a good domain from the start and never change it. If you really want to change it, just know you’ll be starting from scratch.

After volunteering with Worldpackers in Peru, I started writing for their blog. This helped me gain backlinks and increase my DA.

3. Pick A Good Name

Tying into the first two points, take the time to brainstorm a great name for your blog. 

If your domain and your blog name match, it creates consistency for your readers. 

So coming up with a great name can also help you find the right domain. 

I finally chose my blog name, “Budget Travel With Gabby”, after a few years of running this blog. 

When I tried to change my domain to budgettravelwithgabby.com, so it would match, I realized that I had lost all the backlinks I had cultivated over the years. 

So I just decided to keep gabbyboucher.com, even though it doesn’t match my blog title. 

Don’t make the same mistakes I did when starting a travel blog!

Put in the effort at the start and decide on a name you love. Then pick a domain to match it. This will set you up for success!

4. Find Your Niche

There are SO MANY amazing travel blogs out there, so it can feel intimidating to try and compete.

Starting a travel blog is easy, but standing out from the crowd is hard. 

How will your blog be different from the rest? 

It’s important to find a niche within the travel industry, and focus your content on that. Figure out what your passion or your specialty is.

What is your area of expertise? What is your travel style? 

You could have a food travel blog, an adventure travel blog, an eco-friendly travel blog, a destination-specific travel blog, a luxury travel blog, or a budget travel blog (like me!). 

Having a specific brand for your blog makes it easier to create content as well. You could write about millions of different topics under the umbrella of “travel”. 

But focusing on a specific type of travel makes your blog more valuable to others in that community. 

starting a travel blog budget travel with gabby
After a few years of backpacking and traveling as cheaply as possible, I realized I had found my niche: budget travel.

5. Write Helpful Articles With A Purpose

The key to having a successful travel blog is writing articles that actually help people. 

If your articles have a clear purpose, and your writing stays focused and informative, your readers will benefit.

I used to just write freely about places I had traveled, without considering my audience. 

For example, I spent a weekend in Amsterdam and then just wrote five pages describing the cool things I saw. My audience at that time was mainly just my Mom. But I bet even she found that difficult to read.

I recently tweaked that useless Amsterdam article to create an Amsterdam Budget Travel Guide which actually serves a purpose.

Once I started writing informative articles that helped people travel on a budget, my audience grew!

Amsterdam cheese museum
My new and improved Amsterdam Budget Travel Guide includes all my favorite budget-friendly activities in the city, including the free cheese museum!

6. Include Good Quality Photos

Good photos are so important for a successful travel blog.

In today’s fast-paced society, people rarely sit down for 10 minutes and read an article anymore. I’m actually surprised if you’re still reading this right now!

Most people click on an article, skim the headlines, and look at the photos. So you want those photos to be as attention-grabbing as possible. 

I’m ashamed to say that I only bought my first proper camera 1.5 years ago.

For my first 3 years of travel blogging, I thought my grainy, blurry, LG camera-phone photos were good enough. 

When I finally made the switch to a high-quality camera, I realized how silly I had been!

Good quality photos make your blog more captivating and more professional.

If you’re starting a travel blog, invest in a decent camera. It’s worth it!

Buying a good camera was one of the best decisions I ever made.

7. Write Concisely

As I just mentioned, people have short attention spans. 

Most people won’t actually read an entire article from beginning to end. So try to get your message across as concisely as possible. 

Write in short sentences. Use short, simple words. Limit your paragraphs to just a few lines. 

Not only is this easier for people to read and absorb, but search engines also prefer articles with concise language. 

8. Use Lots of Subheadings

Similar to the last point, an article with lots of subheadings is easier to read

Long, wordy paragraphs just aren’t appealing to most online readers.

Especially when reading on a smartphone, the small screen condenses the width of the paragraphs so they appear even longer. 

Because most people just skim articles without thoroughly reading, subheadings will alert them to the main points of your article

So be sure to break up your writing into bite-sized pieces separated by subheadings. 

Click here to check out some of my favorite articles from Guatemala!

9. Understand Basic SEO

If you’re starting a travel blog, you’ve most likely heard the term SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

This is basically a process of improving your website so it ranks higher on search engines like Google.

SEO can get very complex, but just learning the basics can still help you get more views.

Start with learning about keywords and how you can use them to grow your blog traffic. 

You can also consider linking to other reputable websites and improving your website speed. 

Content is definitely the most important part of a travel blog, so focus on your writing first.

But having a basic understanding of SEO can help you write in a more effective way.

(Yoast and Moz are two helpful tools for learning about SEO!)

10. Don’t Be Afraid To Promote Yourself

This is something I still struggle with. If you want people to read your travel blog, you have to promote your articles!

Share your posts on all your social media platforms. Make Pinterest graphics for your posts and share them everywhere. Tell your friends and family, and random people you meet in a hostel about your blog.

It can be uncomfortable to promote yourself. Especially if you’re just starting out as a blogger and you don’t feel confident yet.

But the sooner you just put yourself out there and stop caring what people think, the sooner you’ll see results. 

starting a travel blog
I still struggle with promoting myself on social media. But it’s the best way to share my work with people so I just suck it up.

☼ ☼ ☼

Thanks for reading! I hope these tips were helpful and you’ve learned a thing or two about starting a travel blog. 

As I said, it took me many years to learn all this stuff and I am STILL learning about the world of blogging. But every baby step counts. 

So if you’re passionate about travel, writing, and photography, starting a travel blog is an amazing outlet for creativity and information!

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read more about this in my About Me page!

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