13 Common Mistakes of Travel Blogger Beginners (and other bloggers too!)
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I don’t think anyone can deny that blogging is fun.
Well, if you like writing, of course!
Although having said that, there’s a lot more to starting a travel blog than writing and, when you’re new, it can be easy to push out a few posts and think that’s all there is to it!
I remember the days when I believed that! How naïve I was!
You see, there’s a kind of art to blogging that you can’t often see in the beginning.
When you start a travel blog, you’ll realise that writing blog posts is just the tip of a pretty ginormous iceberg of tasks. It most certainly takes discipline and definitely skill to stay on track and make it work for you. And even with that discipline, there are some pitfalls and setbacks that have the potential to make you want to give up altogether!
But back to my original point about blogging being fun!
Once you get past all of that and you actually start seeing your hard work pay off, it’s the best feeling in the world!
Loads of people make a living from their blog. Being your own boss and calling all the shots on your life whilst running a website about something you’re passionate about sounds like a dream, right?
And even though at the beginning, you may feel like you’re fumbling around in the dark, who doesn’t feel like that at the start of a new job?
It’s okay to mess up – it happens to pretty much every new blogger! When you’re starting a travel blog, it’ll be easy enough to learn from your mistakes. But the great thing is, that if you know these challenges are coming, it’s also pretty easy to avoid them!
So, for all you travel blogging beginners out there, here are 13 common mistakes of blogging newbies and how to avoid them!
1. Focusing on the Wrong Social Media
Social media can be a game-changer when it comes to blogging and there are some platforms that might as well have been designed to skyrocket your traffic and get you hundreds of views. However, social media, in general, can be a serious time hog and not necessarily worth your while if you’re focusing on the wrong platform.
Instagram is a great platform and some people generally do make a living from Instagram. But in terms of driving traffic to your bog, well…it doesn’t!
Whilst spending loads of time on Instagram might be great for instant gratification and quick likes, there’s also not an easy way to grow a genuine audience either! In general, people don’t tend to leave Instagram itself, so in terms of getting website clicks, that’s most likely to be another no-no!
On the other hand, Pinterest is a wonderful site to use if you’re looking to grow your blog. It’s more of a search engine than a social media platform but has 322 million active users every month! I know people who’ve grow their blog from nothing to a million views in a year, just by harnessing the power of Pinterest!
So, if you’re looking to grow your blog, spend less time on Instagram and much more time Pinning!
2. Expecting it to be Easy and Glamourous
Building a travel blog takes time. In fact, building any blog takes time. It also takes patience, dedication and one heck of a lot of hard work!
If you’re starting a blog because you think it will be easy-peasy work then you’re about to be in for a serious wakeup call my friend!
Blogging is hard! There is a LOT to learn. And if you don’t have the passion and the determination and the dedication to make it work, you will give up.
There are a lot of people out there today who do make money from their travel blogs, but it’s not all jetting off to the other side of the world for free, staying in forest tree-houses and swinging about in Bali! Most of the blogs that are big today have been going for 3 years or more. And it’ll likely take 3 years or more to see those kinds of results!
Nevertheless, don’t be disheartened, because you should always remember this:
Those bloggers that you look up to right now? Well, they had to start at the bottom too! And if they can get to where they are now, then there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t either!
3. Falling for Fake ‘Partnerships’
This is something that literally maddens me so much but I also see is online more or less every day. Brands will sometimes reach out to smaller ‘influencers’ and ask them if they’d be interested in a partnership. Now, this is quite common with the larger brands and people with over 10k followers. But always be careful if your reach isn’t quite that high and make sure the partnership is genuine.
The way a legitimate partnership works is that the brand will give you something for free, you will promote it across your social media and blog and if someone buys through you, you earn a commission through the sale. It’s a lot like affiliate marketing.
However, a lot of brands will often reach out to people with a much smaller reach and offer them a partnership if they buy the product.
NEVER accept a partnership or sponsorship where you have to buy the product.
This isn’t a real partnership. This is just the brand trying to make money. I once had a brand reach out to me and ask me to buy a t-shirt at 75% off (which still made it $40!) for the ‘possibility’ of being featured on their Instagram account! It’s safe to say, I deleted the email!
If that ever happens to you, I recommend just completely ignoring it. You’ll have brands that want to work with you properly one day, so just get rid of the fakes! It’s totally not worth it!
4. Writing a Diary of Your Adventures
But, hang on a minute! Isn’t that what a travel blog is, a diary of my adventures?
One of the worst things you can do is make your blog read like a personal journal. It may sound harsh but your blog should not be about you. If nobody knows who you are and you’re not a celebrity that gets papped on the street, then who’s going to care about what you did last weekend?
Your blog should be all about your audience!
And every post you write should have a focus on how you can help them. Your ideal audience will have a problem that they want to solve. Whether their problem is how to travel the world for less, how to start a blog or how visit New York City on a budget, there will be the reason they are searching for a site like yours in the first place.
If your blog doesn’t solve their problems or answer their questions, then it won’t get clicks or views and you’ll struggle to build an audience. It really is that simple.
So, focus on your audience and don’t ever start a blog post ‘Dear Diary’! 🙂
5. Not Re-Reading Your Content
This may seem like an obvious one but it would surprise you how many typos there are on the internet! Even on the most popular travel blogs, people still write ‘our’ instead of ‘out’ or put one ‘s’ in necessity.
So, it’s extremely important to make you re-read your post before you hit Publish. Even small errors will stick out like a sore thumb and if your blog is fairly small, you really don’t need anything to tarnish your image. From a brand’s point of view, they’re not going to want to work with someone who’s sloppy on their own blog, are they?
Plus, as well as correcting errors, re-reading sometimes gives you little flashes of inspiration to add something to the end of a sentence or flip a phrase so that it sounds better. Even the most experienced writers edit their work as there really is no end of benefits to proofreading.
6. Not Being Consistent
Another thing that’s pretty key with a blog is consistency. If your audience expect something from you and you don’t deliver, they’re slowly but surely going to lose faith in you.
And this is possibly the worst thing that can happen to any blogger!
So, consistency is key.
If you say you’re going to send out a newsletter every Wednesday, you send it out every Wednesday. If you say you post Monday and Thursday, then you make damn well sure that you do that!
However, (and trust me with this one) consistency is sometimes much easier said than done and requires both planning and discipline, but we’ll get to that!
7. Trying to do Everything for Free
I understand that in the beginning, you’re most likely not making any money with your blog and the temptation is not to spend any either. Especially if you’re not getting anything back.
I totally understand, but this can actually be one of the worst things you can do, especially if you eventually want to make your blog profitable.
For a successful blog, you need to go self-hosted, you ideally need a premium WordPress theme, a domain, an email provider and none of these things come free. You can start a blog without being self-hosted, but it’s never a wise idea and there are so many restrictions, you’ll have to change it anyway if you want to make any money!
So, although you may not want to, if you’re serious about blogging, spend a little at the start and it’ll go a long way. Here’s my favourite Blogger Resources to set yourself up for success.
8. Not Having a Schedule
This links directly to what I was saying about consistency. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to keep myself on track is to have a blogging schedule. The easiest way to make yourself a schedule is with these 3 steps:
- Chose what day or which days you’re going to post and stick to them. If you want to post twice a week on Monday and Thursday, write that down and stick to it!
- Try to plan all your content. It’s no good getting to Sunday afternoon and having no idea what you’re going to post tomorrow. Plan out all your content and you’ll find it a lot easier to stay on track.
- Write it in advance too. Similar to planning what you’re going to write, it’s no use always rushing to write all your posts the day before they’re due to be released. The best way to ensure you’re not always rushed off your feet is to have at least a week’s worth of content written in advance. It’s also good to have a couple of backup posts too – that way if you fall ill or aren’t able to write as much as usual one week, you’ll still have something to post!
Stick to these 3 points and post on a schedule and you’ll find it a lot easier to keep on track of your blog. Plus, your audience will know exactly what to expect from you.
9. Not Having a Long-Term Plan
I love having goals. I like pushing myself until I hit them and I like it even more if I hit my goals before I planned to. Having a long-term plan for your blog is super important. It’s no good working towards something without having a bigger picture. So, ask yourself this:
What are you blogging for?
What result do you eventually want?
If you want a million website views, how long quickly do you want to get there? Is that your 2-year plan?
I find that setting myself a specific, time-based goal works really well.
So, try to define something you want but don’t be vague. For example, do you want 1000 Pinterest followers or 100 blog views per day? Write it down!
Next, decide when you want to achieve that by, but make sure it’s actually achievable. You’re not going to achieve either of those things overnight!
Plus, define your ultimate goal, whether that is monetary, audience-based or whether you want your blog to be a featured on a certain website. It’s always good to set yourself a few ultimate targets.
Now all you have to do it work out how to get there. Put a series of steps in place with the end result being your goal. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to work towards something when you know exactly what you need to do in order to get there. When it comes to blogging, I find having a long-term goal and plan is really helpful.
10. Not Showing Your Personality
Now, this may seem like an obvious one but blogs aren’t meant to read like a monotone pile of drivel.
Everyone is unique. Everyone has funky little quirks that make them who they are. Whether that is your way of speaking, funky little anecdotes that you use all the time, jokes, sarcasm or wonderful descriptions, don’t hide it.
Let who you shine through in your writing!
Don’t let your writing seem stiff or read like an essay. Be fun, be interesting and write how you speak and your readers will thank you for it.
Procrastination is an art in itself rather like blogging, however, if you find yourself staring at a blank Word Document and end up opening YouTube or Netflix far too frequently, then you may have a problem!
However, I totally understand this! Sometimes you just don’t want to do anything. Trust me, I have those days but I always end up beating myself up for it when I don’t get anything done!
Why not set yourself a to-do list at the start of the day and if you don’t fancy one task just move on to the next. Either way, procrastination is a serial blog killer so always try to remember your goals – Netflix won’t help with those!
12. Not Asking for Help
No matter what stage you’re at with your travel blog, making the mistake that you think you know everything will never get you anywhere. You can’t be the expert at everything and there will always be someone who is more skilled than you.
There is no harm at all in asking other bloggers for help.
Whether you just want opinions on new page design or you want someone to proofread a post for you, just ask! This can be a great way of finding out what people are interested in too (which can be a super-easy way to plan your next blog posts!).
Whatever is it just ask! Other bloggers aren’t your competition, they can be your friends and the blogging community is actually super talkative! As my father always told me, if you don’t ask you don’t get!
13. Not Connecting with Your Audience
Similarly, it is not a silly idea to ask your audience what they think either.
Unsure about a post? Ask people if they found it useful.
Unsure what to write next? Ask people what they’re struggling with.
Unsure what people prefer? Ask them!
Ask, ask, ask!
The only sure-fire way to know for certain what your audience thinks is to ask them. Plus, connecting with your audience is the best way to gain their trust. You don’t want to come across as just the author, you want to get to know them, become someone they rely on for information and answers. Not only will you see an increase in your engagement by doing this but you can also increase your brand awareness and revenue by building a relationship with your readers!
It’s a huge mistake as a blogger not to connect with your audience. They will love you for reaching out and you will certainly get a buzz from helping them! After all, helping your audience is why you started a blog in the first place, right?
Your audience will always be your biggest asset. So, treat them well and talk to them and you won’t regret it!
Alice is an adventure traveler and seriously lover of bucket lists. She created Adventures of Alice to help others like her travel the world for less and inspire travel-lovers and travel bloggers alike! Grab her exclusive bonus today: ‘The Ultimate Blog Promotion Checklist’, and make sure your blog posts are primed to be published!