Ever wonder if there’s something you should — or better yet, shouldn’t — be doing with your blog? Maybe you’re not sure if you’re spending enough time on social media, or if you’re even writing content your readers want (vs what you think they want).
Becoming a professional blogger can be challenging; there’s much to take into consideration when building a profitable blog, as well as many mistakes to avoid.
Well, the best travel blogging advice you can get is certainly from those who have learned to master the trade by trial and error. Here are 27 blogging mistakes that professional travel bloggers want you to avoid.
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1. Using Large Images
“My biggest travel blogging mistake was not re-sizing images from the start. In the first few months of blogging, I inserted photographs into my posts straight off the memory card in all their enormous 3MB, 4600px glory. I thought they looked great! I didn’t even notice that they took about 43 years to load, especially on mobile. No wonder my bounce rate was off the chart.
As soon as I realized the error of my ways, I downloaded a free piece of software called Fotor to batch re-size images. A mind-numbingly dull few weeks followed, spending all my time re-sizing everything to 1200px, deleting gigabytes of images, and re-publishing all my posts. It was so painful, but so worth it. No blog reader has the time or patience to wait for a life-size image of the Taj Mahal to download!”
Caroline from Pack the Suitcases (Instagram and Facebook)
2. Not Spending Enough Time On Social Media
“When we were starting out, we focused mainly on posting high-quality content. As my co-blogger is a photographer, we have really good travel photos and we were really proud of our blog. We thought that word of mouth or support from family and friends is enough to create a momentum to push our blog to the limelight, but it isn’t.
In fact, people from close circles weren’t even aware of our website!
We’d totally underestimated social media marketing and its importance in making our posts visible to our audience. What we do now is write posts and then spend the rest of our allotted time promoting them in social media or getting them featured on other websites through collaborations.
To newbie bloggers, make sure to spend time promoting your posts, as well.”
Katherine and Hali from Tara Lets Anywhere (Instagram and Facebook)
3. Not Going Full-Time Straightaway
“My one big mistake was not having the courage of my convictions sooner. For several years in my early travel blogging career, I was a part-time travel blogger, juggling my blogging work with my day job (also related, doing web design and online marketing for other travel businesses).
If I could change one thing, I would have turned to going full-time sooner, rather than waiting to see if I was heading along the right path. Going full time early, if you feel you can accommodate the risk factor, will allow you to flourish as a travel blogger more rapidly.”
Paul from A Luxury Travel Blog (Twitter and Facebook)
4. Not Running The Blog As A Business From The Start
“My biggest mistake was probably not recognizing the value of what I do, and not treating my blog as a business earlier on in the process.
Certainly, I’m happy with where I am now after 7+ years of running my blog, but I feel that there were a number of missed opportunities in my first few years because I wasn’t focusing on running my blog as a business.
I’d advise anyone starting out now to come up with a solid plan for what they want to achieve and how they intend to make an income from travel blogging in the longer term, and then focus on a strategy — as well as creating great content — that will help them to achieve that goal.”
Laurence from Finding the Universe (Twitter and Facebook)Starting a #travel blog? Here are 27 #blogging mistakes to avoid. Click To Tweet
5. Being Afraid To Try New Things (& Let Go Of The Old)
“One thing I struggle with as a travel blogger is trying new things on the blog. Often I think to myself that I don’t have time to try a new social media platform, dabble in video, try a new SEO plug-in, give a workshop at a conference, or sign up for another affiliate program; however, change is a constant in the world of blogging and one needs to be flexible to try new things that may help increase productivity, income, reader experience or quality of content.
For example, I resisted putting any time into Pinterest for years, but over the last 6 months I have invested some time into it and it has become one of my favorite social media platforms.
The flip side is that one has to focus on the things that are working and be able to stop putting energy into ones that are not. For instance, I concentrated on a recommended affiliate program last year that turned out not be worthwhile for me, but I stuck with it for almost a year to be sure that I gave it enough time to work. But I would have never known it wouldn’t work for me and my blog if I hadn’t given it a fair chance.
As in traveling, don’t be afraid to try new things, but also don’t be afraid to stop doing those things that aren’t a good fit!”
Jessica from Independent Travel Cats (Twitter and Instagram)
6. Expecting The Blog To Be An Overnight Success
“My main mistake with travel blogging was expecting it to be a decent source of income quickly. It does not happen this way. It takes time to build up a blog, develop your writing style and create unique content. You have to develop your audience; there’s lots of bloggers out there, so you have to make yourself stand out.
I’m not saying it’s not worth it, I’m just saying don’t expect it to be an overnight success!”
7. Overlooking The Importance Of SEO
“My biggest mistake when starting my travel blog was not paying enough attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and doing proper keyword research. The biggest driver of traffic to a website will be the organic reach.
Doing proper keyword research to know what you will target for when people do their searches will help to bring large numbers to your website. Knowing the basics of SEO will help you in the long run; however, making sure you write quality content is the best practice for SEO.”
Mike from To The Nations Worldwide (Twitter and Facebook)Here are some common #blogging mistakes newbie bloggers make, and how to avoid them. Click To Tweet
8. Writing Unimaginative Blog Posts
“It’s the dreaded, ‘And then we….’ syndrome..
Too many travel bloggers get into the habit of just recounting their events of their day, saying stuff like, ‘And then we went to Joe’s Diner for meatloaf. And after that we took a walk on the beach. And then we saw this margarita stand and got drinks. And then we took a cab to the harbor….’
What we realized is that readers don’t want to know these specific details. What they want is to hear about your opinions, your feelings, what kind of emotion you were left with. This is what they want to know about the places you went to. If you were left feeling exhilarated, refreshed or enlightened, they want that feeling too. If you felt disappointed, angered or insulted, they want to hear that too.
Imagine yourself writing a fictional story from your travels, and draw readers in with your your joys, despairs, triumphs and failures.
Use photos that help illustrate the feelings you were left with. Take a picture of yourself not just smiling, but laughing. Don’t pose for a shot; but take action shots as they happen. Use lots of feeling words, and be creative and ingenious with the way you describe something. Pull up the online thesaurus and be a wordsmith with your phrasing.
Don’t be afraid to shed light on your personal lives in your travel bloggings. Blogs are meant to be window into your heart and soul, not just an informational resource.”
Steve from Road Pickle (Instagram and Facebook)
9. Not Printing Business Cards
“For my first collaborations with hotels, restaurants and tours, I really regretted not having my own business card when I met PR Managers, Marketing Directors and Sales Agents. Since then I have printed beautiful photographic business cards and enjoy handing them out when I meet business personnel and interesting fellow travelers. Business cards are a great way to appear professional and legitimate as well as promote your blog at the same time.
The way I think of it, my business card is a physical, tangible and memorable bookmark for my travel blog. I would urge new bloggers to print and keep a couple handy; you might need them sooner than you think.”
Ketki from Dotted Globe (Instagram and Facebook)Travel #bloggers regret not monetizing their blog soon enough. Here's why. Click To Tweet
10. Hiding Behind Blog Posts
“First, put your story and face out from the beginning. I tried to hide behind my blog posts for the first several years. But, after talking to others in the travel blogging space, I realized I needed to share my story.
I highly recommend telling your story. Use social media to enhance your blog stories. Try Facebook live … it’s scary the first time, but the feedback will keep you going.
Second, try to monetize your blog as soon as possible. Work with affiliates that relate to your audience. Write an eBook about travel and your special niche. Blogs cost money as well as time. When you have income each month, then you will feel rewarded and motivated to keep going.
I failed to monetize early and faced burn-out. I was putting out a lot of content with little return.”
Michele from Fun In Key West (Instagram and Facebook)
11. Not Creating Multiple Income Streams
“My biggest travel blogging mistake was not diversifying my income streams. Like many new or struggling travel bloggers I relied on two income streams to earn income: sponsored posts and advertising revenue.
I’d advise new travel bloggers to slowly add passive and active income streams like freelancing, coaching and writing eBooks to begin earning cash while you develop the reputation that commands sponsored post and ad revenue.”
Ryan from Blogging From Paradise (Twitter and Facebook)
12. Not Investing In Technical Knowledge
“My biggest mistake was not paying for the technical knowledge required when building a website. As I had no income from my blog, I felt compelled to reduce costs and tried to build the site myself.
It was a huge mistake as I wasted so much time trying to do something I had no idea about.
So, my tip for new bloggers is to invest — sensibly — in technical knowledge. Your time is better spent on building great content and back-linking to improve your SEO.”
Alana from Family Bites Travel (Instagram and Facebook)
13. Replicating Other People’s Posts
“As a young blogger I would continuously see ‘Top 10 Things To Do In _______]’ or ‘The Ultimate Guide to ______’ posts by other bloggers, and wanted to replicate that.
Of course, I flopped — because my specific style of travel is really never the “ultimate guide to” style. I travel to get real cultural experiences, experience adventure and nature, and connect with other millennial travelers. Not sell template guides to famous cities.
I’ve realized that I should write from my heart, and not from just what I think people want to see. My most popular posts have included, “How I Won $40,000 in Study Abroad Scholarships”, “If I Die While Traveling, You Should Know…”, and “It’s Okay to Not Have a Core Friend Group, Especially if You Travel”— and the funny thing is, they all took me the least amount of time to write, because I felt such a strong urge to write them that I couldn’t not get them on my blog ASAP. Write what you feel!”
Gabby from Packs Light (Instagram and Facebook)
14. Not Starting Earlier
“While everyone says ‘not starting earlier’ is their biggest mistake, I think it applies twice as much in the case of travel blogging; especially, when you are blogging about your personal experiences like I do with my flight reviews and other similar content.
Every experience — from the flight to the city — that you write about is a door into your website. A fairly costly one for that matter. And so, the only thing I wish when I think about the hundreds of flights I took before starting KN Aviation, and the ‘material lost’ as I was not taking them with the intent of reviewing them, is that I’d started sooner!”
Keishi from KN Aviation (Twitter and Facebook)
15. Not Approaching Potential Sponsors Sooner
“The biggest mistake I made was not pitching potential sponsorships sooner. I simply assumed my numbers and stats weren’t high enough to get collaborations and partnerships, which really was underselling the value I could offer by creating quality content for an active, engaged audience.
As long as you can clearly communicate what value you can potentially offer a brand, the worst they can say is no. Be succinct in your pitch, look professional with a media kit and don’t second-guess yourself.”
Lauren from The Down Lo (Twitter and Instagram)
16. Not Mentioning Businesses In Blog Posts
“One of my biggest mistakes in the first few years is that I didn’t include businesses in my reports. For example, if you see a beautiful cafe or restaurant on the street, shoot it, even if you don’t use their services. Then in your posts, if you notice that there is something in the photo — a restaurant, a hotel, a nail saloon — tag them, mention them, link to them.
Don’t be afraid of placing free links to the businesses that you encounter. If you include them make sure to send an email with a link to your post. I have discovered that some of these businesses will promote your content across their own channels. So instead of you just bringing traffic to them, they bring traffic to you.
Some of my higher-traffic articles include occasional mentions of the hotel where I stayed at (as a paying customer), the restaurants that we had dinner at, etc.”
Dumitru from Brinzan
17. Not Publishing Evergreen Content
“Virality is something that every blogger fantasizes about. When I started travel blogging, I was investing a lot of time and effort in producing content that was tied to a one-time event or to a specific holiday.
While there is the chance of momentarily getting a lot of attention from readers, the reality is that evergreen content almost always wins the ‘content-type battle.’
I recommend new bloggers focus on content that withstands the test of time and that can drive visits every day of every year. Publishing content related to specific events and holidays will be more effective once you’ve somewhat mastered the science of turning random visitors into email subscribers.”
Avichai from X Days In Y (Pinterest and Facebook)
18. Not Choosing A Specific Niche
“There are hundreds of thousands of travel blogs out there. You need to find a way for yours to stand out. Find a subtopic of your niche that you really enjoy and make that your niche. We had recently lost a combined 100lbs while traveling and decided that the best niche for us to make a name for ourselves was weight loss/fitness travel.
Since defining our niche better, we have seen a drastic increase in traffic.
When in doubt, assume someone else has already thought of your idea and do it better.”
Aaron from Life Travelers Traveling Life (Twitter and Instagram)
19. Skipping The Basics
“I run a Croatia-focused blog where I share stories about offbeat places and itineraries. As a knowledgeable local, I have often assumed that everyone traveling through Croatia has already seen the highlights. I’d get ahead of myself and send my readers to do a quirky Zagreb literary tour before telling them about top things to see and do, or sending them to best cafes and bars.
There’s even a term for this — the curse of knowledge — and bloggers who are destination experts need to be aware of it.
Newbie bloggers: it’s actually great to position yourself as a local expert. Just start with the basics. Assume that your readers don’t know much about your destination. Paint a picture of your place that will inspire them to visit.
Next, write a few essential guides, such as ‘top attractions’ or ‘best places to eat’. Only then, dive into offbeat and adventure ideas.”
Andrea from Travel Honestly (Twitter and Facebook)
20. Not Knowing Your Audience
“First, know your audience; or, maybe I should say, don’t make the mistake of not knowing your audience. If you don’t follow this advice, you might come across as too preachy, too humblebraggy, or maybe even too casual. Identify who your audience is and what they want, and write with conviction that you can deliver that to them.
Second, deliver original content in an original voice. We all know the drill: we get swept up in other people’s ideas, fill our editorial calendar with those concepts, and end up writing articles that, while certainly not plagiarized, could bear too much resemblance to the original. We all have a different take on a destination, so we owe it to ourselves and our readers to have fun with it.”
Maggie from Creative Lodging Solutions (Twitter and Facebook)Do you make any of these travel #blogging mistakes? Click To Tweet
21. Undervaluing Your Skills
“Since we have worked with more than 200 brands and traveled to more than nine countries and dozens of US states, we have learned a lot through trial and error. One of the biggest mistakes we have made when partnering with brands in the past is selling ourselves short on our ability to provide top-notch service and promotion through our creative process.
While it’s great to promote brands in exchange for in-kind product donations in the beginning when trying to establish trust and relationships, there comes a time in any influencer’s business life cycle where they have to be bold and start requesting paid collaborations to create a profitable company.
There are many ways that bloggers can profit if they create quality content and bring something unique to the table. We started offering social media consulting services for entrepreneurs almost two years into our business endeavor, but wished we would have made those perks available sooner.”
Alexandra from East Coast Contessas (Instagram and Facebook)
22. Choosing The Wrong Name
“My biggest travel blogging mistake was choosing the wrong name for my blog. The name of the blog should not only reflect the topic that the blog talks about, but it should also be made up of words that are easy to remember.
My blog’s name is ‘Azure Sky Follows.’ I know people who can’t pronounce the word ‘azure’ properly. There are many who don’t even know the meaning of the word ‘azure.’ Clearly, the word blue would have done a better job.
Owning branded social media accounts is extremely important, too. Now, when I follow someone on Instagram, this is the notification they receive: “@azureskyfollows follows you”.
Heck no! So ‘follows’ is the word I should have avoided like plague. But, here I sit as the owner of this account. It’s too late to change now, though. Don’t do the mistake I did; don’t just end up giving an impulsive name.
Research properly, think long-term, ask other bloggers and check with your friends before making that ultimate decision!”
Tania from Azure Sky Follows (Instagram and Facebook)
23. Accepting Every Free Trip
“After blogging for some time and attracting a certain level of readership, you’ll get public relations (PR) people approaching you for collaborations. Don’t be swayed by every promise of getting free trips and experiences. Remember – at the end of the day, these people have their clients’ interests in mind first, not your readers’.”These common #blogging mistakes could impede your #travelblog success (esp. #20). Click To Tweet
24. Not Leaving Coding To The Professionals
“The biggest travel blogging mistake I’ve made — but didn’t learn from, and then made again — was thinking I could code. So you want to change fonts/colors/header image sizes? Want to add one of those cutesy interactive maps? Don’t think you can code!
The video tutorials and sites with step-by-step instructions make editing look so simple (‘What could go wrong?’); but every time I’ve delved into my CSS, to make even the slightest adjustment, I’ve crashed my website. It’s mind-boggling how even a misplaced “/” can bring down the whole operation.
My advice: leave the coding to the coders. Just because you own a house doesn’t mean you’ll be able to install a new toilet or add-on a pool after watching a YouTube tutorial. There are specialists for everything out there and changing the size of your header image is not worth losing potentially years and hard work. I know you’re trying to save money, but do-it-yourself coding should never be attempted.”
Ashley from My Wanderlusty Life (Pinterest and Facebook)
25. Not Carrying Copies Of Sponsorship Agreements
“Once you set out for a sponsored trip, make sure you have printed copies of the instructions and agreements. On my very first trip, I had two places agree to host me in exchange for blog posts and social media coverage.
Unfortunately, the first cabin was in a remote location, and we were stranded outside for hours as I couldn’t download the code to unlock the front door!
The second cabin had made a mistake in booking the dates, and it took hours of calling around town in the middle of the night to be able to confirm my stay. After those two experiences, I always make sure I have all of my documents printed and packed!”
Rosalie from Rosalie Goes (Instagram and Facebook)What has been your biggest #travelblogging mistake? 27 bloggers share theirs. Click To Tweet
26. Not Taking Enough Photos
“One of the biggest travel blogging mistakes I see — and have made — is not taking enough photos (or not taking photos at all). If you’re going to blog about something, you need visuals.
I feel like taking photos is especially important for travel blogging, since you are talking about places and adventures many people have never seen or experienced.”
McKinzie from McKinzie Writes (Twitter and Pinterest)
27. Focusing Too Much On Instagram
“I think my biggest mistake at the outset was focusing too much on Instagram. As a new blogger, Instagram can be tempting because it’s the easiest platform to find immediate traction.
And while I would never suggest ignoring Instagram altogether, the reality is that it is a more difficult platform to master in the long run [in terms of gaining blog traffic] because you cannot link out directly from your photos. Facebook and Pinterest deliver a far greater return on investment in my experience. My Pinterest following is actually pretty small, but it still sends 20 times as many users to my blog as my larger Instagram account.”
Nate from TravelLemming (Facebook and Pinterest)
Any mistakes you’d add to help those wanting to become a travel blogger? Please share in the comments below!