Looking to start a travel blog in 2023? Here’s a quick guide to get started on your journey to turn your love for travel into a full-time career. From a full-time travel blogger!
In 2020 I decided to take my love of London, my passion for creating, and my 5+ years of experience in social media and digital marketing to make Candace Abroad. A digital platform (across my blog, Instagram and Tik Tok) to inspire women to live their best London life in the city and beyond.
Fast-forward to 2023, and Candace Abroad has become more than I could have ever imagined.
I took my travel blog full-time in 2022, grew to 100k+ followers, went on the BBC, made five times my salary, and even hired a small team!
All that to say, if you dream of becoming a full-time travel blogger or content creator, it’s 100% possible. And in less time than you think.
But it will take a lot of hard work.
As I said in my post, ‘Is Being an Influencer a Real Job?’, there’s SO much that goes into being a digital creator that frankly, many people don’t care to talk about.
So, from me to you, here’s my honest advice on how to start a travel blog in 2023 (from the perspective of wanting to make it your full-time job or at least a profitable side hustle).
How to Start a Travel Blog in 2023
1. Decide Your Why
It’s hard to stick with something if you don’t know why you’re doing it in the first place.
So when it comes to starting a travel blog, you have to know your why. Ask yourself:
Why do I want to start a travel blog?
Is it because you love to travel and be creative and you want a place to share that?
Or is it because you’ve followed other travel content creators for a while and think you want to follow their path.
Whatever your reasoning (and there’s no right or wrong) having a clear idea of why you want to start a travel blog in the first place will keep you consistent on the days, weeks or months where you feel like giving up.
For me, my why(s) to start a travel blog were:
- to have an outlet for my love of writing and London
- to have an online home base for my brand ‘Candace Abroad’ outside of social media
- to eventually become a full-time travel blogger
- to build passive income for myself through ad revenue (I do that through Mediavine Ads on my blog along with affiliate links)
Knowing my why was the #1 reason I was able to stick with my travel blog and grow it into what it is today. So before you do anything, take a piece of paper and jot down 3-5 reasons why you want to start your travel blog, the real reasons.
Once you know your why, it’s time to know your what.
2. Choose Your Travel Niche
By ‘what’ I mean, what do you want to talk about?
I’ve always been of the belief that it’s never to late to become a blogger or content creator, but gone are the days of being everything to everybody. You need a niche.
Essentially this is the topic or style of your content your community will slowly start to know (and love) you for.
Over time you’ll become the ‘go to’ for your topic, which is how you’ll be able to monetize your blog through things like ad revenue, brand partnerships, affiliate links and more!
I wrote a whole post on how to choose your travel niche — but essentially just think about the type of travel you love and would be happy to talk about for years to come.
This could be solo travel, couple travel, adventure travel, family travel etc., or like me, travel that focuses on a particular destination.
Keep in mind, just because you have a niche doesn’t mean that’s all you talk about. For example, I’m a London travel blogger but I also write about everything from UK and Europe travel to blogging & social media tips.
With that said, I do make 80% of my content about my niche and it’s paid ten-fold as I quickly became the go-to for my topic by my online community, brands and even TV networks. So choose wisely!
3. Buy Your Domain & Create Your Website
Alright, you’ve got your why, you’ve got your niche, now it’s time to actually create your website.
If you’re not technically-gifted, this is probably the most daunting part of the process.
Between all the website jargon and figuring out all the tiny backend things that come with running a blog, it’s easy to give up starting in the first place. But don’t be scared! It’s a lot easier than it looks. Here’s how to be up and running in a few steps:
1. Buy your domain
This is going to be the URL of your site (like candaceabroad.com) and your username for social media platforms.
I’ve used GoDaddy to buy all my domains but there’s tons of options like Name Cheap or Bluehost.
2. Choose a theme for your website
Your website theme should speak to your personal style and be something you’ll be comfortable looking at for the next year (you can upgrade or change your theme after that, but personally I would stick with one you won’t need to change down the line for a while).
If you like my theme or the style of it, I highly suggest checking out 17th Avenue Designs.
They have beautifully feminine web templates that are easy to customize once you’re all set up. They also have an excellent support team that’s happy to answer any questions you have.
I bought my theme in 2020 and still email them all the time whenever I want to tweak something on my site. They’re the best! You can check out their themes here.
3. Get hosting for your website
Once you have your domain and your theme, you’ll need to put them on a website.
Pretty much all professional bloggers use WordPress.org (not.com) to host their website as it’s the best for SEO (search engine optimization, i.e getting found online).
To get hosting that’s hands off I suggest using SiteGround. They’ll help you connect your domain to WordPress and you’ll be up and running in no time!
Congrats you website owner you!
After you’ve done all of the above, you should have a functional website to start posting blog posts on.
As it’s a lot of new technical bits to learn, I’d give yourself about 2-4 weeks (or a super intense weekend) to get everything set up and looking a way that you’re happy with.
4. Create Your Content & SEO Strategy
The main difference between a hobby travel blogger and a professional one is having a content & SEO strategy.
If you want a travel blog to simply share your love of travel online, then this part won’t be super relevant to you.
But if travel blogging is something you want to do to build an income stream for yourself then your content needs to be planned in advance.
The best way to create a strategy in the beginning is simply to ask:
What questions does my audience have?
then answer it through content.
For example, if your audience is female solo travellers’ they would probably want to know ‘what are the safest countries to travel to solo?’.
Using this question, you could make a piece of content titled ‘5 safest countries to travel to solo’ and so on and so on.
I suggest writing 50 questions your audience might have and creating 50 blog post title ideas to go with them.
For example, I know when my audience comes to London they’ll want to know what tourist mistakes to avoid. Because of that, I wrote 10 Tips for Tourists in London (Tourist Mistakes and How to Avoid Them).
P.S – I use the free versions of Notion and Trello to plan my content for my blog and social media.
Another key to becoming a professional travel blogger is using SEO.
This stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ which is a fancy way of saying, how people find you on the internet.
Before you write a blog post you’ll want to have a ‘keyword’ in mind. This is the main word or phrase you’re trying to rank for when people search on Google for your topic.
Instead of trying to guess what keywords are popular, you should 100% invest in a keyword research tool if you’re thinking about being a travel blogger.
I use Keysearch to write all my blog posts on Candace Abroad and find the best keywords.
Not only will using a keyword research tool cut the time you spend researching what to write in half, but you’ll always know that you’re writing something people are actually interested in.
P.S – You can get 20% off Keysearch with the code ‘KSDISC’ here!
5. Refresh Your Social Media Channels
In my opinion, blogging and social media go hand in hand.
As someone who is equal parts travel blogger and travel content creator (or ‘influencer’ as some would say) I know the importance of having both short-form and long-form content online.
Long-form content is a blog, podcast or Youtube channel. And short-form is Instagram and Tik Tok.
Using my social media channels, I’m able to drive traffic to my blog candaceabroad.com and make more money online through brand partnerships on social media.
For example, my ‘6 things to do in Kensington‘ Instagram Reel was a teaser to my blog post 23 Best Things to do in Kensington, London.
Whatever your travel blog niche is, you’ll want to make sure your social media content supports it.
There’s no magic number, but if you can try to publish 2-3 Instagram Reels (and re-purpose them on Tik Tok) a week you’ll be well on your way to building authority in your niche on social media along with your travel blog.
P.S – Here’s how to get 10k followers on Instagram (the real way!)
And most importantly – Stay Consistent
The truth is, you can do everything right, but if you’re not consistent you’ll never find success as a travel blogger.
Consistency looks different for everyone. But whether you say you’ll publish 1 blog a week or 1 blog a month — you need to stick to it to see tangible results.
To start, I suggest committing to writing one post a month, then bring it to one post every two weeks, followed by once a week.
It took me two years of writing and creating content online to go full-time, which is considered quite fast!
So if anyone has promised you travel blog success in 30 days, run for the hills. And be okay with growing slowly. You’ll get there if you put your mind to it.
I hope you enjoyed my guide on How to Start a Travel Blog in 2023! Let me know how your travel blog journey is going on Instagram!
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You got this!