Owning a travel blog is hard work, we know. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do you can’t really get ahead in the game. The work on a travel blog is never ending and in order to have the very best travel blog, you’ll need to constantly update and hone your skills. All this can be overwhelming since each and every blog is different and there is no perfect step by step guide, therefore, it is hard to know what aspects of your blog need improving. Thankfully, we have asked real travel bloggers for their best tips to improve your travel blog. These easy to do tips and tricks will help polish your blog, writing skills and social media game to be the very best that it can be. So, without further adieu, let’s see what the experts are saying and find out how you can improve your blog.
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1. Create Twitter Lists
Twitter is a social media that often gets overlooked, but with the right strategy it can connect you with tourism boards and job opportunities, Sophie Sanchez our twitter expert from Cosmic Chicago says,
“Creating Twitter lists of accounts you follow is a great way to organize and clean up your Twitter account, drive engagement, establish authority in the topics you tweet about, get on someone’s radar, and as a tool to generate sales through your blog. As you go through your followers, every account should fit into a specific List that matches one of your Twitter blogging goals. For example, if you are keen to work with brands in a specific destination you are headed to, create a list targeting those accounts and related travel accounts that you can use to RT from, quickly tag, and build relationships with. Then, use List feeds instead of your home feed to engage on Twitter.”
2. Speed Up Your Site
Your FTB Admins say,
“Did you know that you lose 40% of your potential traffic if your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load? Crazy right? One of the best things you can do for your website is change hosts. SiteGround is known for their fast hosting and amazing customer service. Your admins have for their personal site and FTB is hosted on them as well and we could not be happier. Changing to SiteGround shaved nearly 5 seconds of admin Susann’s load time. Additionally, they have a customized plugin for WordPress that optimizes your site speed even further. Make sure you install it after you make the change! The best part? Switching to them is stress and hassle-free. Their experts do all the work for you.”
To change to SiteGround, please use this FTB affiliate link to help support the maintenance of this group.
3. Give Your Blog a Makeover
While the theme you started with might have been good to get you through your first months or year of blogging, changing your theme can increase your user experience and therefore your traffic. Lottie, our web designer and head over at Lottie Reeves says,
“Revamping your site design with a fresh, clean look is a great way to spruce up your site, especially if your blog is getting more and more traffic. I always recommend the Divi theme to my clients because it’s fully customisable and in most cases, once installed your current design carries over so the downtime is minimal! You can create post and page templates and switch all your old content over to the new design when you’re ready. Then, if you decide you want to play around with individual pages, a great way to ensure style consistency across all modules in a page is to copy the style and paste it to other modules from the visual builder. This gives you the freedom to play around with new colours, fonts, and design then apply it throughout a page.”
To purchase Divi, please use this link, it supports your FTB team.
4. Use Analytics to Boost Your Pinterest Game
If you’ve been using Pinterest for a while, but can’t quite seem to figure out how to drive traffic, our Pinterest guru Jess from Powerful Pinterest Strategies says,
“Are you feeling stumped by Pinterest and not sure what is working for you? Spend a few minutes this week diving into your analytics to see what topics are doing well, what pins are doing well, and which ones need a facelift. Create a list of at least 5 posts or pins that need new graphics created for them. Read this post on understanding your Pinterest analytics to dig in deeper.”
5. Set Up Search Console, Site Map, and Index Your Site
Properly setting up your Search Console and indexing your site can be the difference between waiting over a year for SEO tactics to click or weeks, Susanna Kelly, our SEO fanatic from Wandering Chocobo says,
“So many people struggle with gaining traction when it comes to SEO, but they’re missing one of the most basic and essential first steps to getting your website and posts recognized by Google. One of the first things every blog owner should do is go to Search Console and add their URL as a property. From there you will want to use the left menu under crawl and add a sitemap. Your sitemap can be generated by a plugin like Yoast or Google XML Site Maps. One of the last steps is to index your site. This is like putting your site on a library card for Google to recall when people search for topics related to your site. You can follow this link to add your URL. I typically do this every time I publish a new post or make major changes to an old post. Doing all these things can help put you on Google’s radar more quickly and when used with the right combination of quality relevant content, keywords, titles, URLs, alt text, site speed, low bounce rate and link swaps you will be on page one in no time!” You can find more SEO posts by Susanna, in our blogging resource section.
6. Disavow Bad Links
Cris from Looknwalk says,
“When I started as a travel blogger, I cared about getting links. The quality of them wasn’t that important. Fast forward some years and I came face to face with a high spam score (5) on a blog I ended up owning. The first thing that I did to clean that up was to disavow bad or spammy links. I went to Google Search Console (former webmasters tools) and went through every single link to the blog. Anything that looked fishy or was 404 got added to the disavow file. I submitted that and, surprise, surprise, some months later the spam score went down to 2. Nowadays, I make a point to check the links at least every other month. And each time, I end up disavowing more links.”
Follow her on Facebook.
FTB Bonus Tip: Keeping your spam score low is an important part of keeping your blog ranking well in the eyes of Google. Having a high spam score can be caused by linking to your website too many times (IE leaving your blog link on dozens of blogs as you comment) or when someone with a high score links to you. It is important to make sure you only collab with people who have low spam scores, and ultimately this is a reason you need to keep yours low as well, or people may not want to collab with you. To check your spam score you can go to MOZ and to Disavow a bad link, follow Googles guidelines.
7. Use Internal Linking
Allison from She Dreams of Alpine travel blog says,
“One thing I like to go back and review every so often throughout the year is whether I can update older posts with internal links to relevant posts I’ve written that I didn’t have at the time of writing my original post. The reason that it is important to do this is that it can help boost my overall SEO, by letting Google know how to connect all of my relevant content. Ideally, I like to have a cornerstone piece in my blog that links to a bunch of my relevant sub-articles, and then in my sub-articles, I like to link back to my cornerstone piece. For an example, I wrote a really thorough article on Hiking Havasu Falls in Arizona, my cornerstone article. I have since followed up with a sub-article all about Packing for Havasu Falls. I made sure that both of these articles link to each other.”
Follow her on Facebook.
FTB Bonus Tip: Internal linking also keeps your bounce rate down, as people are more likely to stay on your website to find relative content. Additionally, internal linking improves the page authority of your own page. If you internally link to a page with a low PA from a page with a high PA some of that authority can travel with it. Internal relevant linking is one of the best things you can do to improve your travel blog.
8. Update and Rewrite Old Content
Sonja from Migrating Miss says,
“It can be tempting to constantly churn out new content, but there is a huge benefit in updating and rewriting older posts too. Things may have changed since we travelled to a destination, so it’s always worth checking any changes to prices, opening times, or possible closures. It’s good to do this seasonally as people start to rediscover your posts at the relevant time of year. Rewriting old content to add new keywords (if you had any to begin with!) can be more beneficial than producing new content because it’s already recognised by Google. If you can improve it to include more information that people are searching for, you can give it a boost in Google rankings faster than writing a new post!”
Follow her on Pinterest.
9. Check Your Blog Font and Style
Diamond from Ink for Miles says,
“One simple thing I did to improve my blog was to pick the best font. On the list of things you need to worry about when you start a blog, I bet ‘font’ isn’t on it but it’s actually one of the more important issues because if readers have to squint or struggle to read your words, then they are clicking away and never coming back. Some ideal fonts I’ve found make for easy reading are Georgia, Helvetica, Quicksand, Verdana, and Ubuntu. As for font size, I wouldn’t go lower than 16px. Good Luck and Happy Blogging!”
Follow her on Facebook.
10. Set Up Social Shares Properly
Your FTB Admins say,
“If people aren’t sharing your content it is a lot harder to go viral and extend your reach. I see so many people making critical mistakes with share options. First, only have one effective plugin that does everything you need from optimized Pinterest sharing to customized tweets. I come across sites that have 3 sharing plugins each one doing something different in different locations throughout the site. This slows down your site and confuses your readers. More is not better. Second, I see lots of people that have created lovely pins – I can see the image in their post, but when I click the Pinterest share option it doesn’t come up. Ensure the pins that you worked hard to make come up when people click the Pinterest share button. In fact, you should regularly try and share your article from all the social media options you can and see what comes up and how it looks. Your twitter should have your handle in it, with a custom tweet, including hashtags, Facebook should reflect the proper image and meta description, Pinterest should generate your beautiful pin with a description, etc.”
There are a lot of free sharing plugins out there, but they aren’t always as effective and can slow your site down. Sumo is popular and free, but expect a longer load time. We recommend Social Warfare, which is cheap, speedy, has Flipboard and you can create custom tweets, pins, and other great features. Use this link to purchase.
11. Join Expat or Niche Groups
Ingrid Truemper from Second-Half Travels says,
“Join Facebook expat groups for the cities and countries you are writing about. If group rules permit, you can share relevant blog posts and gain new readers as well as invaluable feedback on your content. However, be careful not to spam the group; a good rule of thumb is not to share an unsolicited post more than once a month. Search for the largest and most active groups in your chosen region. For example, I belong to a Mexico expat group with more than 23K members. Every time I share a post I get a bump in my page views and several new followers!”
Follow her on Facebook.
12. Conduct Basic Grammar Checks
Shivani from The Wandering Core says,
“Basic grammar is something a writer shouldn’t fail to notice, but sometimes do! For me, nothing more scares me off more than the critical grammatical errors in my otherwise well-perceived post. For proofreading my posts, I religiously use Grammarly extension for chrome and safari, also available for Edge. I use WordPress and have activated Jetpack which comes with its very own proofreader. It highlights all spelling and also grammar mistakes. I juggle between both as they present me with the desirable results any plugin or 3rd party tool would do.”
Follow her on Instagram.
13. Try Long-Tail Keywords
Shruti from Indian Girling says,
“A lot of attention has been given to focus keywords in the area of SEO Optimization. I believe, that if a basic short keyword is not showing the results you need in terms of website traffic, you need to also consider using long tail keywords as your focus keywords. Long tail keywords are essentially the suggestions that come up each time you type up a sentence on any search engine, such as ‘How do I save money for travel’. The long tail phrase that you choose as the main keyword for your article or post should most certainly be one that has relatively easy ranking difficulty (on a scale of 1-100, it should sit ideally under 40) and have a healthy monthly search volume to ensure you get repeated hits. Some of my favorite free tools are KWfinder and Keyword Tool.“
Follow her on Instagram.
FTB Bonus Tip: While free tools help you get a beginner grasp on keywords, the paid tools are usually what will help launch SEO game to the next level. KeySearch has one of the easiest to use and easiest to understand user interfaces. In our opinion, starting with this tool will prevent you from having to go back and rework old posts. It provides analytics on your competitors and gives you alternatives. Use this link, to purchase it today, and support your FTB team. They have a free trial as well.
14. Shake Up Your User Experience
Kathrine & Pam from Everywhere Forward say,
“Over the past year of blogging, we have learned how important it is to have a user-friendly layout. Readers tend to have short attention spans, so it’s best to have smaller blocks of text on blog posts separated by your beautiful images. To keep readers browsing your blog, we have learned it’s advantageous to have a user-friendly theme for fast conversions and easy to find information. After revamping our site with drop-down menus, sidebar and footer widgets with popular and related posts, and creative grids with topics, we noticed more traffic flowing through our blog!”
Follow them on Instagram.
FTB Bonus Tip: User Exerience is more than just the widgets and text layout, it is the experience your users have from the moment they look at your site until they leave. The key is to get them to stay on the site as long as possible. We recommend inviting your friends over for pizza one night and asking them to surf your site. Where do they get bogged down? What do they like? What don’t they like? Where are they confused and where do they leave? Take their advice to heart and make some changes based on their feedback.
15. Optimize Your Destination Pages
Katie from Creative Travel Guide says,
“For over a year I had these awesome destination pages with a mini guide to the destination – prices, top things to do and hotel recommendations. No one visited these pages at all. Last month I started optimising these pages, I added Pinterest images to the bottom of the pages and shared these across my boards, group boards and tribes on Tailwind. I then added links to relevant blog posts within the text. Now, these pages are gaining more and more views every day, driving more traffic to my website. I wish I had done this a year ago but better late than never!”
Follow her on Facebook.
16. Choose Titles Wisely (and According to SEO)
Jillian from Adventure Dragon says,
“When I first started blogging, I wanted all my titles to sound super creative. I thought that clever writing would entice people to click my posts, but people first have to find your article before they can click it. And no one is going to find it unless you are titling it with words and phrases that people are typing directly into Google search. So save your creativity for in-article text, and use keywords for your titles. This often means choosing a plain and simple title over the clever one you’d rather use, but it will make a huge difference in page views and growing an audience.”
Follow her on Pinterest.
FTB Bonus Tip: This is also a common mistake when it comes to URLs. We often see bloggers with a default URL that contains the post date or a category tag. Each and every URL should be written by you and include keywords. You can alter this as you are creating the post, or change the default settings in your admin settings.
17. Find Your Niche
“I think having a niche or specific area of focus to write about makes you stand out from a multitude of generic travel blogs. You need not think that the niche has to be very narrow. You could take up a style of travel (solo independent, family, budget travel, luxury travel) – this would appeal to a certain audience who would then be more engaged with your writing. Or this niche could be a geography, say North America or Western Europe or Asia. You would have much richer, deeper content and be seen as a Travel expert for that area.
My blog Zest In A Tote focusses on Family & Luxury Travel. I didn’t have to think too hard about this focus area since most of my trips are with my family and are comfort-to-luxury style.”
You can follow Shweta on Instagram.
18. Write Evergreen Content
Bruna from Maps ‘N Bags says,
“To reduce my blog’s bounce rate, I write good-quality evergreen posts. Most of my posts are still based on keyword research, of course, but I realized that having these evergreens is what retains most of my readers to my website. Otherwise, chances are that people would come to my blog, read that one post about the destination they’re interested in, and go back to Google. That’s definitely something we all want to avoid!”
Evergreen content is a post or topic that is always relevant no matter the time of year and despite trends.
You can follow her on Facebook
19. Find & Establish Your Voice
Katie from Weird Travel Friend says,
“One of the most under-valued areas of writing, especially for your own site, is keeping a consistent “voice” throughout your pieces. Keeping a strong voice and style will ensure that there is a level of uniformity to your writing and will (ideally) endear you to your audience. The voice is where you let your personality shine through. My four tips for achieving a strong voice are: write as you speak, re-read for grammar, refuse to “sanitize” and remove the personality flourish, and then read it aloud to catch any last errors. You can read more tips on this topic, over at Katie’s Medium post.”
20. Social Media Optimization
Emily from Em Dashed says,
“When I first started blogging, my social media experience was limited to a personal facebook profile, and an Instagram account I accidentally created. I quickly realized that having a searchable and”followable” social media presence was a key part of representing my blog to the world. I did my best to snag usernames that matched my blog name, and prominently displayed the links to my accounts. Perhaps most importantly, I regularly check to ensure each link leads to the correct place.
Who knows? Make it easy for people to follow your blog on social media, and they might just do it!”
You can follow her on Facebook.
21. Use Search Console for Optimizing your Posts
Remember Search Console you set up in tip number 4? Well, it is time to use it!
Ridima from Little Joys And More says,
“One method that resulted in more organic searches and building traffic for my page is analysing the keywords on google search console and then adopting those keywords in my articles. Periodically experimenting with new keywords and possibly trending keywords helps in better SERP statistics and in better visibility.”
You can follow her on Facebook.
FTB Bonus Tip: Find what keywords people are searching to find you in Search Console under “Search Traffic” -> “Search Analytics.” You should use these words and phrases to rework into your blog post. You can also see what position you rank for each keyword or phrase by checking the position box. Each page on Google has about 10 listings, so if your position is 1-10 you’re probably on the first page.
22. Step Up Your Photography Game
Read this guest post by Julia, from Julia Dent Photography on how to improve your photography skills.
Share the Knowledge!
Be sure to share this so you can help all your fellow travel bloggers with these 22 expert tips to improve your travel blog. What is your favorite blogging tip, share with us in the comments, we would love to hear them. Happy Blogging!
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Susanna focuses on outdoor and adventure travel, sustainable and eco-tourism, all while hitting pause for hipster city breaks. Follow Susanna on her blog at Wandering Chocobo