While some people are fortunate to live their dream of quitting the corporate life and travel the world, most of us would be stuck in the office waiting for the weekends to come for that quick escape. On the surface, it may appear sad that we can’t be like other people who are backpacking the world for months or even for years. I used to look at it that way, in fact, I have plans to become one of those backpackers someday that’s why I started my blog, Travelosyo. But lately, I realized that quitting your job is not the only option to enjoy traveling.
I admit, I want to be a fulltime writer, but realistically speaking, I can’t afford to just quit my job, at least not at this point of my life. I have a family who relies on me financially and whatever decisions I make, I have to put them into consideration.
Travelosyo started September 2014, it was a play of words between Travel and “Ambisyoso,” a Filipino word for ambitious because well, I love to travel and if there’s one word I can use to describe myself, it’s ambitious. Whatever I want, I’m determined to get it. This blog site is a good example of it. When I started writing, I don’t have readers and it seemed like no one believes in me. I hardly get 10 views a month.
But I didn’t mind because I started with a battle plan. I didn’t start writing because I just want to write. It’s not about wants, there should be passion. What is happening on my blog now is not pure luck, I worked hard for it. From the beginning, I knew what I wanted, so I set a goal, and did the work because I had a clear vision of what Travelosyo would be someday.
Let me put a disclaimer this early; what I’m about to share is based on my experience. It may or may not work for you. I’m here to guide you towards your dream in becoming a travel blogger. Admittedly, I’m not the best blogger you would ever meet, but then again, not everyone will be there to help you. So allow me to share what I know.
If you too want to travel and start a blog, here are some of the questions that I want you to consider.
- Why do you want to start travel blogging?
- How do you see yourself 1 year from now?
- There are hundreds of local travel bloggers, how are you going to be different from the rest of them?
- Are you willing to devote most of your free time handling your site?
Take note of your answers and remember them when you have those times that you feel like giving up. There’s a note to remind you why you started in the first place.
Let’s start from the basic and I’ll give you an overview of things that you need to know. Let’s not talk about SEO, Algorithms, Domain Authority, etc.; these are pain in the ass. You will get there someday.
I hope at this point you already have your blog name. Make sure that it’s catchy and easy to remember. This is going to be your brand for the rest of your blogging career.
When I started Travelosyo, I didn’t buy my domain and I used a free host. Therefore, I started with Travelosyo.wordpress.com. You can start doing the same to test the water if you’re really into blogging, but I highly recommend to start with paid hosting. Why? Because exporting your contents is not as easy you thought. Also, there’s a possibility you would lose some followers along the way, and don’t even get me started with the broken links, but that’s another topic altogether.
How to Start Travel Blogging?
So let’s talk about Domain and Host.
Domain name is the name of your website or your site URL; mine is Travelosyo.com. Domain price ranges from 10-50$/year depending on your extension. I got mine on WordPress for 17$.
In order for your website to appear on the internet, you need a HOST. A server where your website files are stored. Prices depend on how much space, bandwidth, and type of server you need.
One popular hosting site is Bluehost; most of my friends use them. The one that I’m using is Dreamhost. Try to do a little research about these hosting sites so you could find the one that best suits your needs.
You can purchase your domain name anywhere, which is what I did; got it from WordPress. But it is more convenient to buy your domain and hosting in the same location. Hosting companies that I’ve mentioned above provide domain name registration too.
The beginning will always be the hardest part. Now that you have a site, the next step is designing it. There are hundreds of free WordPress templates and I’m also using a free theme. If you have an extra budget, you can get a nice design for less than 75$.
Get inspiration from other travel websites on how you want your site to look like. One tip: make sure to choose a design that is responsive. Responsive means, your site would adapt to different browsers.
As I have mentioned in my previous podcast with pisig.club, worry less about how your site will look like and don’t stress yourself if you’re not getting page views yet. Always remember content is the king and you need to be consistent. This is the most important part of travel blogging, how to come up with quality articles and how often you can publish an article.
When I started writing, I purely wrote travel guides; how to get there, what to do, where to stay, etc. There is nothing wrong about this style of writing, but you need to ask yourself, are you just blending with most travel bloggers who are writing the same thing?
How are you going to stand out? In my case, I started to write stories and my favorite subject is the story of people I met on the road. I still insert guides on my article because it pays to give your audience informative guides. But to make my content a little bit different from the rest, I added value to it by including my life stories on the road.
To give you an example, not everyone had a chance to visit Batad, Ifugao with almost nothing, not everyone had the chance to plant rice in Buscalan and live like the locals, and not everyone who visited South Cotabato showcased how peaceful this part of Mindanao is. My point here is simple, your life experience is different from others. Write yours and don’t stick with the usual guides.
If you’re writing an article make sure that you have Grammarly on your desktop. It helps in correcting basic grammar errors. For more details about Grammarly please click this link. However, I would recommend finding a friend who can proofread your article before publishing it. If you need a proofreader and an editor, you can message my friend, Marge Gavan of Coffeehan at email@example.com. She can definitely help you make your article look better. Promise, her service is affordable and worth it.
Why Social Media and Networking is Important?
If there’s one thing that I regret on my early days of blogging is that I underestimated the power of social media. It’s been almost a year before I had a Facebook Fanpage, Twitter, and Instagram under Travelosyo.
A big chunk of my traffic comes from Facebook, so while you are starting to build your site, start building your followers too. Start inviting people to follow your social media accounts. But then again, I would like to remind you that you’re just starting so you don’t need to focus most of your time growing these accounts. Remember what I told you? Content is the king. Sooner or later when you start posting quality articles, you won’t need to beg for people to follow your pages. They will be the ones to come to your page.
Do you believe that no man is an island? You should! You can’t grow alone, you need to get in the circle of bloggers. There are hundreds of travel and blogging group on Facebook, start joining them. simply type travel or blogging on your Facebook search box and a lot will be suggested. Be part of this group and be interactive. Join forums and read what other people share that you think could help you. Don’t miss the chance to Join Circle of Travel Bloggers. I’m one of the founders of this travel group. We are here to help you grow.
Now that you have a website, contents, social media accounts, and travel group, the most exciting part is to harvest all your hard work.
How to Earn Money and Get Free Travel by Doing things you Love?
I always have a plan. Don’t start this if you don’t have a vision. It’s part of my plan to start getting sponsors when I turned 1 year. I was uncertain if there would be people who would believe in me and what I do. If you feel that way too, don’t worry, it’s normal. But even if you feel this way, never doubt yourself.
Back then, I sent proposals to at least 10 hotels in Metro Manila. I even called them to look for the best person to talk to. Just to let you know, I’m fascinated with hotels so they are my target sponsors.
Out of 10 hotels, there was one who believed in me and I’m thankful to Azumi Boutique Hotel for being my first sponsor. They made me more confident and they added value to my brand. Since then, sponsors come when needed.
There are rejections along the way and it’s true that I received some letters declining my proposals. My advice is, don’t take it personally. This is pure business.
Before hitting that send button when you start asking for sponsored travel or accommodation, assess your website’s value first. Review your proposal letter and one thing you should never forget is to ask yourself, what can you give in return to your sponsors?
This is a give and take relationship. If you want to continue getting the perks of travel blogging, you should have a good relationship with them. Always remember, networking is a must in travel blogging. Regardless, how small or big your sponsors or even the people you will meet along the road, treat them as important. You’ll never know when you’re going to need them in the future.
Sometimes, I send an email to my past sponsors, asking how our campaign went through. When they tell me that my post was able to create even just a little impact to their business, it really makes me happy. Your relationship with them will not end after your ex-deal. I’m also giving them feedback on the reach of the articles and how people react. You have statistics on your WordPress, you need to study your numbers.
Today, I’m proud to share that my greatest achievement in less than 2 years of blogging is working with our Tourism Promotion Boards. I’m thankful because aside from giving me an opportunity to travel for free, they served as an avenue in fulfilling one of my missions for Travelosyo and that is to promote the Philippines both locally and internationally.
My biggest earnings online came from my affiliation with Agoda. What is Agoda? It is an Online Travel Agency (OTA) based in Singapore that offers accommodation booking services through its website and mobile app – Wikipedia. Again, I didn’t rush everything. I made sure that I have a working website when I applied partnership with Agoda. Once you get approved, there are guidelines on how you can earn from them online.
Another popular way for bloggers to earn online is via Google Adsense. I did send them an application, unfortunately, I was rejected because I didn’t meet their guidelines. This is an example of rejection that you may experience in blogging. Do what I do; do not take it personally.
There are hundreds or even thousands of ad networks and affiliations available online. It’s still your call to whom are you going to partner with. Please note that it is important to set up your own Paypal account since most online payments go through Paypal.
I hope I covered the basic about travel blogging and I would be happy to see you guys starting your own travel blog. Please message me once you have your site live and I will be glad to promote you online. If you need further help, please message me on my Facebook Page – Travelosyo.