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ROAD BLOG:
Becoming a Travel Blogger for Fun or Profit
for BCATW Meetup – July 8, 2015
PRESENTED BY MARI KANE
ABOUT MARI KANE
Writer and Blogger
Designer of WordPress blogsites
Tutor of WordPress users
Follow @blogsitestudio
Like on Facebook at Blogsite Studio
blogsitestudio.com
tastingroomconfidential.com
My Blogs
bcatw.org
bcatw.org/directory
My BCATW Sites
My Blogging Ebooks
HOW DO I START A
TRAVEL BLOG?
HEATHER GREENWOOD
globetrottingmama.com
Including tips from these travel bloggers
MARIE-EVE VALLIÈRES
ToEuropeAndBeyond.com
JANICE MUCALOV
SandinmySuitcase.com
JODI ETTENBERG
LegalNomads.com
DECIDE ON YOUR MISSION
• Blogging as promotion
for print writing, to post
unsold material
• Blogging to promote
travel-related business
• Pure travel blogging
FIND A NICHE
AND DOMAIN NAME
GET A NICHE
• Budget
• Luxury
• Adventure
• Culinary
• Cruising
• Family
• Under 30
• Over 50
• Solo Women
• Backpacking
• Road Trip
• YOLO
CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
LIKE AN IDENTITY
• evocative
• easy and fun to say
• hard to mispronounce
• keyword inclusive
• humorous or clever
• use rhymes, alliterations,
portmanteaus
• no cliches!
MIX UP TRAVEL
DESCRIPTORS
• Stub
• Tales
• River
• Arrivals
• Departures
• Counter
• Gate
• Boarding
• Lounge
• Sunny
• Backpack
• Journey
• Expedition
• Hike
• Quest
• Route
• Trek
• Wandering
• Nomad/Nomadic
• Roaming
• Maps
• Atlas
• Road
• Traveler
• Letters
• Wanderlust
• Navigating
• Compass
• Uncharted
• Cartography
Marie-Eve Vallières of
ToEuropeAndBeyond.c
om
“I wanted a name that
felt real and that
people could easily
remember.
It may not be SEO-
friendly and it may not
be super niche-
oriented but I think
having a name that
resonates with
yourself and with your
readers is what
matters the most in
the end.”
Heather Greenwood -
globetrottingmama.com
“Keep it simple and
watch for double letters
that may confuse people.
If you want something
confusing – like using a
number instead of word
(way2go.com) – consider
buying the most likely
mix up and re-direct it.”
DESIGN A BEAUTIFUL SITE
TOURISTS EXPECT BEAUTY -
BOTH IN TRAVEL AND IN BLOGS
• DIY - cost effective but time
intensive. Learn web design when
you could be writing. Good if you
plan to build more sites.
• Designer - costly but allows for
more time to write. While
designer is designing, you are
writing posts for your first 3
months. Think of it as an
investment.
• Design styles- fortunately, the
current style in vogue is a
minimalistic, flatastically clean
style that’s easy to create and
work with.
Janice Mucalov-
SandinmySuitcase.com
“Choosing a WordPress
theme was the most
difficult task – and
perhaps the most
important decision.
If you can, hire someone
to set up your
WordPress blog for you
– they should be able to
recommend a good
theme.”
“I AM A FREELANCE
TRAVEL WRITER AND
CAN'T BE BOTHERED
TO LEARN CSS, HTML
AND PHP. FIND
SOMEONE WHO'S
GOOD AT IT AND
DEDICATE YOUR TIME
TO THINGS YOU ARE
ALREADY GOOD AT
INSTEAD.”
Marie-Eve Vallières of
ToEuropeAndBeyond.c
om
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN
THE BLOGOSPHERE
WORDPRESS THINGS TO LEARN
• Posting and the difference
between posts and pages
• Using Categories and Tags
• Working with Images
• Using Plugins and Widgets
• Working with SEO and Keywords
• Maintenance - updates, backups,
speedups
• Comment management
• Mobile theme management
• Security !
• Other services connected
through APIs (application
program interface)
WHERE TO LEARN
WORDPRESS?
STRUCTURED LEARNING
• Hire a WordPress Tutor
• Subscribe to
Lynda.com
• Tutorial plugins
• Enroll in a college
course
• WordPress.org Codex
UNSTRUCTURED LEARNING
• Blogsitestudio.com
• wpmu.org
• smashingmagazine.com
• business2community.com
• Youtube Videos
• WordCamp - Aug 15!
• Vancouver WordPress
Meetup
I would have
started out on
Wordpress.org
initially, instead
of doing what I
did (start on
Blogger). Jodi Ettenberg
LegalNomads.com
“Be prepared for a
lot of hard work
and a steep
learning curve!
You have to learn a
lot about
WordPress (or
other), images, etc.”
Janice Mucalov-
SandinmySuitcase.com
“You’ll become
better at blogging
the more you do it.
Write often. Don’t
worry, hit publish.
Be open to making
changes and stop
thinking it has to be
perfect from the
start.”
Heather Greenwood -
globetrottingmama.com
ALL THINGS GOOGLE
• Google Analytics
• Webmaster Tools - (now
Search Console)
• Pagespeed Insights
• Keyword Finder for SEO
• Google Trends
• Also: Register with Yahoo
and Bing
WHERE TO LEARN GOOGLE
TOOLS?
Google:
“Webmaster Academy”
“Analytics Academy”
“Google Apps Learning”
EMAIL LISTS
• Email lists are your loyal
footsoldiers who’ll read
and share your posts
• Entice subscribers with a
Free gift, like an ebook
• Use a 3rd party service
like Mail Chimp, Constant
Contact, AWeber, to
manage lists and alerts
WHERE TO LEARN EMAIL
LIST MANAGEMENT?
• Tutorials and blogs on
each service’s site.
• Hubspot.com blog
• wpmu.org
• smashingmagazine.co
m
• business2community.c
om
USE SOCIAL MEDIA
• Facebook
• Twitter
• Google +
• Pinterest
• LinkedIn
• Instagram
• Flickr
• Snapchat
• YouTube or Vimeo
• Tumblr
• tourists
• publications
• tourism bureaus
• airlines
• hotels
• agents
• event managers, etc
Build travel-related followings
“If you want to grow
traffic know that
you’ll have to spend
considerable time
on social media
promoting your
blog. Setting up a
travel blog and
writing posts is one
thing. Getting others
to read your blog is
another.”
Janice Mucalov-
SandinmySuitcase.com
WHERE TO LEARN SOCIAL
MEDIA?
• Lynda.com
• Goodwill Community
Foundation - Learn
Free
GCRlearnfree.org/
• Alison Free Certified
Learning alison.com/
• BCIT
KNOW WEB HOSTING
• Types of hosting - Shared,
Virtual Private, Dedicated,
Cloud servers
• Control Panel (Cpanel)
• Directories
• Stats
• Webmail
• Security
WHERE TO LEARN ABOUT
WEB HOSTING?
• Web Hosting Secret
Revealed
webhostingsecretrevealed.n
et/
• Who is Hosting This
whoishostingthis.com
• Google it
WRITE AMAZING TRAVEL
STORIES
TRAVEL BLOGGING
• Research before traveling
• Practice describing 5 senses
• Develop a unique, consistent
style
• Use dialogue and vivid language
• Start with impact, end with
personal insight
• Entertain, inform and inspire
• Employ blog formatting - header
tags, pullquotes, links…
• Write bloggy - listicles, how-to’s,
photo essays…
• Go longform style
“Whether you like lists or
photo essays or narratives
doesn't matter, as long as
you can get behind every
single blog post you write.
It's ok to throw in some
advertorials here and there,
but always ensure good
taste and proportion.
Tweaking certain words to
make your site SEO-
friendly is good too. Just
don't make it difficult to
read.”
Marie-Eve Vallières of
ToEuropeAndBeyond.c
om
HOW TO LEARN TRAVEL
BLOGGING ?
• MatadorU.com
• American Writers and
Artists - awaionline.net/
• Travelblogsuccess.co
m
• Ruth Kozak courses
DEVELOP PHOTOGRAPHY
AND VIDEO SKILLS
BECOME A CAMERA NINJA
• Buy usable equipment
• Learn how to use that
equipment
• Have a must-shoot list for every
situation
• Photograph people
• Master the art of editing and
uploading images
• Know how to source copyright-
free images
• Upload images to hard drive in
case camera is lost or stolen
• Use Alt tags in WordPress
“Never underestimate
the importance of
visuals
on a blog.
Make your images
big, bright and
memorable.
Have them tell the
story you can't write.
And add keywords in
the alt tags too.”
Marie-Eve Vallières of
ToEuropeAndBeyond.c
om
HOW TO LEARN TRAVEL
PHOTOGRAPHY
• Matadoru.com
• NationalGeographicEx
peditions.com
• Take David Smith’s
online course, at
interfaceimages.com
“Make sure your
images are always
under 100kb in size.
Know how to
reduce/compress
images via
PhotoShop
Elements or other
image processing
programs.”
Janice Mucalov-
SandinmySuitcase.com
MONETIZE YOUR
TRAVEL BLOG
FIRST, GET MASSIVE TRAFFIC
Don’t worry about monetizing until you get 50 -100k hits /mo
ACTIVE SALES
SALES YOU SOLICIT, NEGOTIATE AND
FULFILL• Sponsored
posts
• Product
placement
• Services
offered
• Online store
• Contests
PASSIVE SALES
SALES THAT RUN ON AUTO-PILOT
• Affiliates
• Pay-Per-Click (Adsense)
• Lead Generation
• Advertising
• Directory
• Subscriptions
• Membership
• Sales of Digital
Merchandise
“Don’t take cheap
monetization
strategies because
building a
sustainable
business should be
the goal. Look to
readers first and
respect them before
a quick buck.”
Jodi Ettenberg
LegalNomads.com
“My blog represents
only 10% of my overall
income, but it has
earned me dozens of
freelance gigs – for
translating,
ghostwriting, copy
editing and social media
consulting.
You don't want to
alienate your readers
with sponsored posts
and banner ads.
All in good taste.”
Marie-Eve Vallières of
ToEuropeAndBeyond.c
om
“For me the blog has
never been a way to
monetize directly. It’s
my resume and
through it I’ve built my
credentials and
developed an
audience that allows
me to work through
spokesperson roles
and other media for
pay.”
Heather Greenwood -
globetrottingmama.com
BE A JOINER
GROUPS TO JOIN
• Professional Travel
Bloggers Association
(PTBA)
• Travel Media Association
of Canada (TMAC)
• British Columbia
Association of Travel
Writers (BCATW)
• Meetup – travel blogging
groups
• Facebook – travel groups
• Attend travel/blogging-
related conferences
“[Groups] are a support
system.
You’ll keep your
knowledge high and
build relationships
with people who will
support you (and you
them) throughout your
career.
It’s an investment that
pays out in ways you
might never expect
over time.
Heather Greenwood -
globetrottingmama.com
ENJOY YOUR BLOG!
Follow Mari @blogsitestudio
Subscribe at blogsitestudio.com
Come to WordPress Workshop Meetups!
Join BCATW at bcatw.org
Follow @bctravelwriters

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Road Blog: Becoming a Travel Blogger for Fun or Profit

  • 1. ROAD BLOG: Becoming a Travel Blogger for Fun or Profit
  • 2. for BCATW Meetup – July 8, 2015 PRESENTED BY MARI KANE
  • 3. ABOUT MARI KANE Writer and Blogger Designer of WordPress blogsites Tutor of WordPress users Follow @blogsitestudio Like on Facebook at Blogsite Studio
  • 7. HOW DO I START A TRAVEL BLOG?
  • 12. DECIDE ON YOUR MISSION • Blogging as promotion for print writing, to post unsold material • Blogging to promote travel-related business • Pure travel blogging
  • 13. FIND A NICHE AND DOMAIN NAME
  • 14. GET A NICHE • Budget • Luxury • Adventure • Culinary • Cruising • Family • Under 30 • Over 50 • Solo Women • Backpacking • Road Trip • YOLO
  • 15. CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME LIKE AN IDENTITY • evocative • easy and fun to say • hard to mispronounce • keyword inclusive • humorous or clever • use rhymes, alliterations, portmanteaus • no cliches!
  • 16. MIX UP TRAVEL DESCRIPTORS • Stub • Tales • River • Arrivals • Departures • Counter • Gate • Boarding • Lounge • Sunny • Backpack • Journey • Expedition • Hike • Quest • Route • Trek • Wandering • Nomad/Nomadic • Roaming • Maps • Atlas • Road • Traveler • Letters • Wanderlust • Navigating • Compass • Uncharted • Cartography
  • 17. Marie-Eve Vallières of ToEuropeAndBeyond.c om “I wanted a name that felt real and that people could easily remember. It may not be SEO- friendly and it may not be super niche- oriented but I think having a name that resonates with yourself and with your readers is what matters the most in the end.”
  • 18. Heather Greenwood - globetrottingmama.com “Keep it simple and watch for double letters that may confuse people. If you want something confusing – like using a number instead of word (way2go.com) – consider buying the most likely mix up and re-direct it.”
  • 20. TOURISTS EXPECT BEAUTY - BOTH IN TRAVEL AND IN BLOGS • DIY - cost effective but time intensive. Learn web design when you could be writing. Good if you plan to build more sites. • Designer - costly but allows for more time to write. While designer is designing, you are writing posts for your first 3 months. Think of it as an investment. • Design styles- fortunately, the current style in vogue is a minimalistic, flatastically clean style that’s easy to create and work with.
  • 21. Janice Mucalov- SandinmySuitcase.com “Choosing a WordPress theme was the most difficult task – and perhaps the most important decision. If you can, hire someone to set up your WordPress blog for you – they should be able to recommend a good theme.”
  • 22. “I AM A FREELANCE TRAVEL WRITER AND CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO LEARN CSS, HTML AND PHP. FIND SOMEONE WHO'S GOOD AT IT AND DEDICATE YOUR TIME TO THINGS YOU ARE ALREADY GOOD AT INSTEAD.” Marie-Eve Vallières of ToEuropeAndBeyond.c om
  • 23. IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE BLOGOSPHERE
  • 24. WORDPRESS THINGS TO LEARN • Posting and the difference between posts and pages • Using Categories and Tags • Working with Images • Using Plugins and Widgets • Working with SEO and Keywords • Maintenance - updates, backups, speedups • Comment management • Mobile theme management • Security ! • Other services connected through APIs (application program interface)
  • 26. STRUCTURED LEARNING • Hire a WordPress Tutor • Subscribe to Lynda.com • Tutorial plugins • Enroll in a college course • WordPress.org Codex
  • 27. UNSTRUCTURED LEARNING • Blogsitestudio.com • wpmu.org • smashingmagazine.com • business2community.com • Youtube Videos • WordCamp - Aug 15! • Vancouver WordPress Meetup
  • 28. I would have started out on Wordpress.org initially, instead of doing what I did (start on Blogger). Jodi Ettenberg LegalNomads.com
  • 29. “Be prepared for a lot of hard work and a steep learning curve! You have to learn a lot about WordPress (or other), images, etc.” Janice Mucalov- SandinmySuitcase.com
  • 30. “You’ll become better at blogging the more you do it. Write often. Don’t worry, hit publish. Be open to making changes and stop thinking it has to be perfect from the start.” Heather Greenwood - globetrottingmama.com
  • 31. ALL THINGS GOOGLE • Google Analytics • Webmaster Tools - (now Search Console) • Pagespeed Insights • Keyword Finder for SEO • Google Trends • Also: Register with Yahoo and Bing
  • 32. WHERE TO LEARN GOOGLE TOOLS? Google: “Webmaster Academy” “Analytics Academy” “Google Apps Learning”
  • 33. EMAIL LISTS • Email lists are your loyal footsoldiers who’ll read and share your posts • Entice subscribers with a Free gift, like an ebook • Use a 3rd party service like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, AWeber, to manage lists and alerts
  • 34. WHERE TO LEARN EMAIL LIST MANAGEMENT? • Tutorials and blogs on each service’s site. • Hubspot.com blog • wpmu.org • smashingmagazine.co m • business2community.c om
  • 35. USE SOCIAL MEDIA • Facebook • Twitter • Google + • Pinterest • LinkedIn • Instagram • Flickr • Snapchat • YouTube or Vimeo • Tumblr
  • 36. • tourists • publications • tourism bureaus • airlines • hotels • agents • event managers, etc Build travel-related followings
  • 37. “If you want to grow traffic know that you’ll have to spend considerable time on social media promoting your blog. Setting up a travel blog and writing posts is one thing. Getting others to read your blog is another.” Janice Mucalov- SandinmySuitcase.com
  • 38. WHERE TO LEARN SOCIAL MEDIA? • Lynda.com • Goodwill Community Foundation - Learn Free GCRlearnfree.org/ • Alison Free Certified Learning alison.com/ • BCIT
  • 39. KNOW WEB HOSTING • Types of hosting - Shared, Virtual Private, Dedicated, Cloud servers • Control Panel (Cpanel) • Directories • Stats • Webmail • Security
  • 40. WHERE TO LEARN ABOUT WEB HOSTING? • Web Hosting Secret Revealed webhostingsecretrevealed.n et/ • Who is Hosting This whoishostingthis.com • Google it
  • 42. TRAVEL BLOGGING • Research before traveling • Practice describing 5 senses • Develop a unique, consistent style • Use dialogue and vivid language • Start with impact, end with personal insight • Entertain, inform and inspire • Employ blog formatting - header tags, pullquotes, links… • Write bloggy - listicles, how-to’s, photo essays… • Go longform style
  • 43. “Whether you like lists or photo essays or narratives doesn't matter, as long as you can get behind every single blog post you write. It's ok to throw in some advertorials here and there, but always ensure good taste and proportion. Tweaking certain words to make your site SEO- friendly is good too. Just don't make it difficult to read.” Marie-Eve Vallières of ToEuropeAndBeyond.c om
  • 44. HOW TO LEARN TRAVEL BLOGGING ? • MatadorU.com • American Writers and Artists - awaionline.net/ • Travelblogsuccess.co m • Ruth Kozak courses
  • 46. BECOME A CAMERA NINJA • Buy usable equipment • Learn how to use that equipment • Have a must-shoot list for every situation • Photograph people • Master the art of editing and uploading images • Know how to source copyright- free images • Upload images to hard drive in case camera is lost or stolen • Use Alt tags in WordPress
  • 47. “Never underestimate the importance of visuals on a blog. Make your images big, bright and memorable. Have them tell the story you can't write. And add keywords in the alt tags too.” Marie-Eve Vallières of ToEuropeAndBeyond.c om
  • 48. HOW TO LEARN TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY • Matadoru.com • NationalGeographicEx peditions.com • Take David Smith’s online course, at interfaceimages.com
  • 49. “Make sure your images are always under 100kb in size. Know how to reduce/compress images via PhotoShop Elements or other image processing programs.” Janice Mucalov- SandinmySuitcase.com
  • 51. FIRST, GET MASSIVE TRAFFIC Don’t worry about monetizing until you get 50 -100k hits /mo
  • 52. ACTIVE SALES SALES YOU SOLICIT, NEGOTIATE AND FULFILL• Sponsored posts • Product placement • Services offered • Online store • Contests
  • 53. PASSIVE SALES SALES THAT RUN ON AUTO-PILOT • Affiliates • Pay-Per-Click (Adsense) • Lead Generation • Advertising • Directory • Subscriptions • Membership • Sales of Digital Merchandise
  • 54. “Don’t take cheap monetization strategies because building a sustainable business should be the goal. Look to readers first and respect them before a quick buck.” Jodi Ettenberg LegalNomads.com
  • 55. “My blog represents only 10% of my overall income, but it has earned me dozens of freelance gigs – for translating, ghostwriting, copy editing and social media consulting. You don't want to alienate your readers with sponsored posts and banner ads. All in good taste.” Marie-Eve Vallières of ToEuropeAndBeyond.c om
  • 56. “For me the blog has never been a way to monetize directly. It’s my resume and through it I’ve built my credentials and developed an audience that allows me to work through spokesperson roles and other media for pay.” Heather Greenwood - globetrottingmama.com
  • 58. GROUPS TO JOIN • Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA) • Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) • British Columbia Association of Travel Writers (BCATW) • Meetup – travel blogging groups • Facebook – travel groups • Attend travel/blogging- related conferences
  • 59. “[Groups] are a support system. You’ll keep your knowledge high and build relationships with people who will support you (and you them) throughout your career. It’s an investment that pays out in ways you might never expect over time. Heather Greenwood - globetrottingmama.com
  • 60. ENJOY YOUR BLOG! Follow Mari @blogsitestudio Subscribe at blogsitestudio.com Come to WordPress Workshop Meetups! Join BCATW at bcatw.org Follow @bctravelwriters

Editor's Notes

  1. Blogging as promotion for print writing, to post unsold material Blogging to promote travel-related business Pure travel blogging
  2. Posting and the difference between posts and pages Using Categories and Tags Working with Images Using Plugins and Widgets Working with SEO and Keywords Maintenance - updates, backups, speedups Comment management Mobile theme management Security ! Other services connected through APIs (application program interface)
  3. tourists publications tourism bureaus airlines hotels agents event managers, etc
  4. Research before traveling Practice describing 5 senses Develop a unique, consistent style Use dialogue and vivid language Start with impact, end with personal insight Entertain, inform and inspire Employ blog formatting - header tags, pullquotes, links, Write bloggy - listicles, how-to’s, photo essays Go longform
  5. Sponsored posts — posts you are paid to write. Product placement — similar to sponsored posts, payment for inclusion and links in your posts. Services offered – training, speaking, stock photos, tour guiding — supported by your blog posts. Online store - sell your own product, physical or digital. Contests – money or information in exchange for chance to win products or services from you or a sponsor
  6. Affiliates – one of the best ways to monetize. Great for sprinkling into posts. For items in the 3 digit range, affiliate sales can really add up! Pay per Click - Google Adsense ads connected through code placed on your site. The more clicks, the more money, pennies at a time. Lead Generation - similar to affiliates but without the purchase. All your reader has to do is submit an email or phone number for you to get paid. Advertising – static or rotating ads can be placed in your headers, sidebars, footers — or more annoyingly — in your posts. These could be affiliate or flat-rate ads. Directory – Advertisers pay you more for extended listings and perhaps sponsored posts. With a built-in market, you will have endless topics to write about. Subscriptions –This method works best when you are an influencer first. Membership – similar to selling subscriptions, you form a group who will pay dues to get and share exclusive offers and information.
  7. Professional Travel Bloggers Association (PTBA) Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) British Columbia Association of Travel Writers (BCATW) Meetup – travel blogging groups Facebook – travel groups Attend travel/blogging-related conferences