10 top tips on how to widen the appeal of your travel blog

 

Earlier this year I wrote a post titled ‘7 top tips to running a successful travel blog‘ which proved to be quite popular. If you’ve been following all the tips there, hopefully you are starting to see some benefits from your efforts, so here I’d like to take that post a little further and give you a little more food for thought.

Spreading the word

Whether you run your own blog or contribute to third party blogs, here I’m going to give a few tips on what content seems to ‘work’ when it comes to travel blogging. I’m taking it as a ‘given’ that you are producing well-written, quality content. Here I’m talking about those blog posts that increase your audience, bring in new traffic, and can have a tendency to attract lots of views.

Depending on the nature of your travel blog, your needs may differ slightly. For example, a hotelier with a blog is likely to regard a blog post that ‘works’ to be one that results in direct sales. But here the focus is upon what pulls in new visitors and has the potential to simply increase the overall awareness of your blog and/or travel business, rather than about the kinds of posts that are directly geared towards selling.

So, without further ado, here are some ‘top tips’ based on my own experiences of what I have found seems to work well.

An enticing title

Perhaps this is a little too obvious, but the title of your blog posts can be all-important.  Think of magazine covers… they highlight particular articles within the magazine and try to capture your imagination (with the ultimate hope of you buying a copy, of course). Now think also about social media… what is it that goes out on your Facebook, your Twitter, your RSS feeds, etc. … yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s invariably the title of your blog post. So make sure it’s one that is appealing and likely to entice someone to click.

Practical and helpful information

Don’t lose site of the fact that blogs should ideally be useful as well as entertaining to read! Hopefully this post will fall into this category, but what I’m getting at here is that if you offer something that is genuinely useful to people, it is more likely to be passed on to friends, thus increasing your readership. Some examples of useful posts we’ve had in the past that have done quite well might be 6 tips on getting upgraded to first class… for free! and this overview of the top 10 luxury restaurants in Berlin.

Dos Palilos, Berlin

‘Top 10′ style lists

Don’t ask me why, but people seem to love ‘top 10 style posts.  I believe curiosity just gets the better of people and they want to see who (or what) has made the list. Of course, it doesn’t have to be 10 necessarily… it can be any number… but these kinds of posts do seem to work well which is probably why you see many of the newspaper sites using them, too.

Our top 20 most expensive hotels in the world post has been re-tweeted more than a thousand times, and it’s no co-incidence that I’ve chosen to name this post ’10 top tips on how to widen the appeal of your travel blog’. Since you’re here reading this, I’m guessing it may have worked!

First hand experiences

There’s nothing like giving a first-hand account of your own travel experiences. Whilst this travel blog isn’t as individual as many out there, we still notice that people like to read about our own travels and experiences, wherever they may take us.

For example, the accounts of our family holiday in Jura, Scotland, our skiing trip to St. Moritz, Switzerland and various other trips have all been consistently popular. Similarly, something as simple as this post – which is someone else’s personal video account of his experience of a first class suite on an Emirates A380 – has also attracted lots of visitors.

Quirky or amazing content

People love something unusual, incredible or just simply different. Whether it be some rather quirky hotel roomsan amazing swimming pool or just some ideas on something different to do in Paris, these kinds of posts are likely to capture your readers imagination and, if it’s something really compelling, they’ll share it too.

Scary swimming pool

Extreme or controversial content

This eye-watering video of an elephant’s extremely unfortunate encounter in Botswana is one that has garnered lots of interest and clicks! As for controversial, the 10 rudest nations on the planet, although a very short post, has been very popular and resulted in plenty of discussion! And, disgraceful though it is, this Disney World ‘top tip’ (and I use that term very loosely!) understandably got lots of people’s backs up!

Superlatives

People love to know about ‘the best’ (or ‘the worst’). They like extremes, not the boring run-of-the-mill stuff. Our post titled ‘The best resort in the world‘ unsurprisingly attracted lots of views and continues to do so to this day. Similarly, the 10 rudest nations on the planet post (just mentioned) also falls into this category – in fact, it falls into several of the tips I’ve already mentioned here which perhaps explains why it’s been one of the blog’s most popular posts of all time!

Competitions

Competitions can be a great way to draw people to your travel blog. Who doesn’t want to win a holiday?!  The golden rule here, we find, is that the better the prize, the greater the interest. It’s common sense really but when if the prize is just a pair of flip-flops versus a week-long stay in a luxury villa in Bali, including return flights from anywhere in the world, then… well, you get the picture!

ALTB competition

Once you post a competition on your site, don’t just leave it at that. Make sure you tell people about it! We also look after and run www.travelcompetitions.net which of course helps when it comes to spreading the word, but there are lots of other very popular places where you can advertise any competitions that you happen to be running on your travel blog.

Time-sensitive information

If you’re writing about a particular event, or with respect to a particular time of year, setting your post to schedule just before the event can often make sense. Posts such as 12 of the most stunning winter sun locations in the world or Where’s warm for a holiday in March? need to be scheduled carefully at a time when they are most likely to perform for you. Recent news events can also do really well if still on-topic with your site’s theme, particularly if you are among the first to post about them.

On the same note, think also about the time of day for your posts – consider your audience and who is likely to read your posts. It goes without saying but if an article is geared particularly towards Europeans, for instance, make sure it goes live when they are at least awake, and ideally at a time when they are known for being ‘active’ with their online activities.

Guest blogging

If you’re struggling to get your blog ‘seen’, then how about posting on other, more established travel blogs. This is common practice and a good way of increasing awareness of your own blog. Regrettably, it’s something I rarely find time for myself, because I am so busy here, but A Luxury Travel Blog has more than 300 guest bloggers now. If you are involved in the luxury travel industry and would like details about being a guest blogger here, please get in touch and we will send you more information.

If you have any ideas of your own, or would like to pick up on some of the items I’ve mentioned here, please post a comment below…

Comments (22)

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  1. Ana says:

    I started a travel blog, and I must say I was really surprised how many traveler bloggers are out there, and I guess it’s easier for people who started earlier. :)
    But I’m trying my best, reading your tips all the time. Thank you :)

  2. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks, Ana… as with many things online, getting in on the game early can always be a big help. But that’s not the be-all and end-all – it’s usually quality – not just being first – that wins through in the end.

    You only have to look at something like Google. Google came in quite late on the search engine game, with it previously being dominated by the likes of Altavista, Lycos, Infoseek et al.

    Similarly Facebook – sites such as Myspace and Friends Reunited were both there first, but didn’t go on to dominate.

  3. These tips are definitely the best I have come across. It’s great to know that there is support for aspiring bloggers, thank you!

  4. Myrna Arroyo says:

    Thanks for the great advice! This is a really helpful post for aspiring travel writers. I really find your posts entertaining and share them often with my followers. I agree that the “top 10″ style posts tend to be the most popular!

  5. Paul Johnson says:

    Thank you – we always appreciate our content being shared. :)

  6. Roni Faida says:

    Your post is dead on, I agree with all of them. What I have learned is that I have to be me and only write and photograph things that I’m passionate about. People can tell when you aren’t authentic.

    And I don’t know what it is about top 10 lists (I also do 5 reasons to…5 ways to…as well). Those always do well with readers! Thanks for the great post.

  7. Paul Johnson says:

    Thank you, Roni… I’m glad you could relate to the points raised. If there’s any ideas you – or anyone else – can of think that I’ve perhaps missed, I would be pleased to hear of them.

  8. Shruti says:

    Hello!

    Like Ana, I’m new to blogging and found this article to be very useful. I’ve been mulling over the content of my next blog post the past couple of days and I’ve decided, at your advice, to do my very own and very first ‘Top Ten’ themed post. Thank you for this awesome post!

    Cheers,
    Shruti

  9. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks, Shruti… glad it was useful and hope it works for you. I think those kinds of headlines really come into their own on the social media channels where you invariably have a handful of words to play with.

  10. Liv says:

    I agree with all these hints. Social media is a great way to promote your site too. There are so many different platforms, at least one is bound to work!

  11. Paul Johnson says:

    You’re right, Liv, social media can work very well with blogs. It’s also worth noting that it’s another ‘string to your bow’ if, for some reason, your site ever goes ‘belly up’ in the eyes of Google. If you invest all your time in search results only, it’s a risky strategy. It’s better to diversify your efforts and get traffic from multiple sources as we never know what’s around the corner.

  12. Tulika says:

    Very well summarised and very helpful tips. Thanks a ton Paul! Will definitely use them in generating traffic to my blog :)
    I enjoy blogging and specially sharing some of the most tremendous experiences in the journey called life!

  13. Thanks for the insight. I am afraid most of my blogs are too long for today’s short attention span reader. I’m printing and posting these tips for a frequent reminder.

  14. Mary Norton says:

    Thank you for writing this post. I am trying very hard to get my site going and writing takes so much of my time. Editing pictures also take time so even if I want to post often, I just can’t keep up. Then, one has to engage in social media to build a following. It is more than a full time job.

  15. Paul Johnson says:

    Thanks for the positive feedback, everyone. You are right, Mary… to be successful at it, it is very tough and more than just a full time job (hence me writing this at 11.20pm!). There’s much more to it than just writing content – you’ve got to *market* that content and get people to visit also. Arguably the most important aspect of all!

  16. Alexander says:

    Thank you very much for your post and your great advice!
    Even though I’m German and my blog is in German as well, I’ll definitely try my best to use your advice.

  17. Paul Johnson says:

    You’re welcome, Alexander… none of the suggestions are specific to English-speaking blogs, so hopefully you’ll find it all still applies to your own.

    Good luck!

  18. Thanks for your advices. I started my travel blog around 7 monthes ago and I need to be reassured.
    I saw that you announce several times articles that you have in your archives. Don’t you fear to bore people ? I suppose that it is a good strategy to streamline the articles yet written ? For a normal blog, not a big one, what is the normal average views per day or mont when it is two or three years old ?

  19. Another question. Do you think that writting in french is a disadvantage and I must do the effort to write in french and in english in my blog. I try to do it on twiter but it is easier because of the short texts.

  20. Suzani says:

    What I have discovered is that I must be me and just compose and photo things that I’m energetic about. Individuals can tell when you aren’t valid. Thanks,
    Mr Paul.

  21. jhonchey says:

    What I have discovered is that I must be me and just compose and photo things that I’m energetic about. Individuals can tell when you aren’t valid. Thanks,

  22. Delia says:

    Great tips – I think you’re right, you have to be patient at the beginning and that is hard when you put in so much time and effort! Fingers crossed it works out…

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