People get into travel blogging feeling chipper and full of energy. Six months later they’re burned out, frustrated and realizing that it’s not as glorious it sounds. They realize that travel blogging sucks.
You know I’m right.
Whether you’re new or experienced, it sucks. If you’re new you might not realize it yet. Succeeding at travel blogging is like trying to carry a submerged boulder from the bottom of a lake to the top of a mountain…on your back, without shoes.
Even when you’re able to make the submerged boulder budge, there are tens of thousands of other people pushing ahead, painfully slow as well…but faster than you.
Reasons That Travel Blogging Sucks Big Donkey Shlong
People jump into travel blogging thinking they can live their dreams, follow their passions and make money at the same time. You probably had an epiphany when you first thought of it. Maybe some marketer sold you on the idea. The lightbulb went off and somewhere somebody released a thousand white doves that fluttered off into a gorgeous sunlit skyline.
You setup a cute blog and started writing about your travels. “This is awesome!” you thought to yourself. You were motivated and excited. Hitting “Publish” was a rush of adrenaline.
Maybe you added some ads to your website. Money! Yay! Maybe you were clever enough to create a newsletter or create a PDF. Things were feeling good. Right?
Two months pass. Crickets. Your pretty blog is getting less visitors than a ghost town. You check Google Analytics and you’re getting less than 10 visitors a day. Hell, maybe you’re getting no traffic. It’s not resembling the visitors of a high traffic coffee shop like you initially imagined.
You look at other travel blogs
You ask yourself “What are those other travel blogs doing differently?” As you snoop around on their websites, you realize how full their websites seem. Everything is perfect on their websites. Maybe you even go the extra step to check out how they constructed their pages, how they built their website and what they’re doing differently from you.
You think, “Ok, I can do that. It’s not difficult.”
And it’s true. It’s not difficult to create that. It just takes hard work. Many people are willing to do the work. The difficult part is not creating it.
Remember the feeling that you had when you started? That feeling hints at dwindling and that makes you feel uncomfortable. You feel a little bit annoyed. A second wave of energy hits you. “But I can do this!” you think to yourself.
You decide to double-down. You’re a content generating machine. You shower less.
While reading about SEO, you start optimizing your pages. You carefully select your keywords. You create clever and quirky graphics. Aww, cute. You improve your video intro. Maybe you see a small boost in your traffic temporarily. But it always seems to dwindle fast. Too fast.
Posts? Blog articles? You have 200 or more now. Maybe you even have a video blog with videos on YouTube or Vimeo. You think…”If I can just write that perfect post” or “if I could just take those perfect photos and videos…maybe then I’ll get more attention”. But it never seems to come.
You check your Google Analytics account three times a day. Pitiful results.
Why don’t people care? You’re doing everything right, you deserve more visitors, right?
Whether you deserve it or not, you’re not getting it. You’re not receiving enough money from your hard work. That’s a problem because you’re starting to need money. Your bank account is feeling pinched because you’ve put more time into your travel blog. You haven’t put much time into other forms of income because you went “all in“.
Or, maybe your one of the rare lucky ones that doesn’t need the money from blogging but you just desperately want more attention. You’re not getting visitors and attention and it’s not fair. It sucks!
Social Media Is Saturated Because Everyone Wants To Be A Travel Influencer
You furiously post your articles on social media, only to realize that there are thousands of other travel blogs on facebook, twitter, instagram and every other form of social media. And many of the articles, links and “content” is better than yours. And they have more followers. Ugg, that’s annoying. You thought this would be easier.
You give up on social media. After all, you already posted a lot…at least your page feels full, right? There are literally tens of thousands of other people publishing similar things online in groups, with hashtags, with already-established reputations. How many people are going to get excited about something that you write about it? You realize that your writing isn’t special. It’s special to you, but that doesn’t mean much to others. And it certainly doesn’t pay the bills. Sorry to bum you out. It’s just the realization that eventually comes.
Your Not An “Influencer” And Backlinks To Your Website Are Non Existent
What does it even mean to be a travel influencer?
When you first started your travel blog, you thought that it was all about writing and posting pretty pictures. Surely your cool travels would earn you respect in the travel community, right? Nah, you know there’s more than that.
You do everything perfectly. You optimize your website. Header tags, Alt Tags, Titles, Keywords, Internal Links…all are perfect. Your video blogs have a cool intro clip, your sound quality is great and you managed to capture some incredible video while others were relaxing at the beach/lake/mountain/volcano. You were working.
Then you have an eye opening moment. Travel writing is damn competitive.
Shit. You can’t muscle your way to success by
simply writing 500 travel articles. Those days on the web passed long ago. People can’t do that anymore. Travel as an online industry has been monopolized.
Everybody and their mother is writing a travel blog. They want your visitors and they’re getting them. They have invested so much time, money and sleepless nights into becoming “influencers”. They’re even paying for Google ads, Facebook boosts and sponsored content on Twitter.
Then you remember that backlinks are important. Ugg. Now you need to be a salesperson, too? Yes, you do. And you don’t get paid for it. You just get an occasional backlink, if you’re lucky. Some people think that “just writing awesome content” will lead to backlinks. But you already have awesome content and nobody is linking to you, which means that nobody is finding your website online. Plus, there are at least 40 other high-quality websites ahead of your website in Search Engine Page Results (SERPS). Ouch.
You finally realize that travel blogging sucks hard.
It does suck hard. It sucks harder than a Dyson Cyclone V10 Total Clean.
Now you have beautiful content but little to show for it. You travelled, sure. It feels good, right? At least you travelled.
Hopefully you didn’t use all of your travel time trying to get those perfect photos and beautiful video shots. After all…other people surely already got those same pictures and videos. And they already put them online and monopolized that corner of the web. You didn’t sacrifice your entire experience in the name of trying to capture a pretty photo and show it to other people, right? I hope not.
Why Travel Blogging Sucks So Much
Travel blogging is hard. It’s downright brutal. There’s a lot of reasons, but this is the main one:
There are low barriers to entry to get into this industry. Anyone can do it. It’s easy to setup a travel website now. An inexperienced blogger can setup a new travel website in less than a day.
So, why does that make travel blogging suck?
Because the hard part is not setting up a new website, nor writing, nor graphics. The hard part is advertising and marketing.
No. Not social media. Not YouTube videos…those things are free. Do you really think you’re going to win at marketing your blog by posting content on free places online? No. That’s saturated. It requires a lot more.
Google controls the web. Google will not put your website on the first page of Google unless you have perfectly constructed pages, plus tons of backlinks to your website.
How do you get backlinks?
Welcome to the slow failure of your travel blogging dream. Backlinks suck. It’s sales. It’s outreach. It’s asking for backlinks. The problem is…everyone wants backlinks. It’s damn competitive. Additionally, one backlink does nothing.
You need many high quality backlinks from other websites to compete with the established websites. And…why will people link their websites to yours? There’s already a thousand other travel bloggers that also want links. People aren’t going to link to you unless you offer something that nobody else can offer.
Later, even if you’re in the top 1% that gets lucky by receiving numerous backlinks… the moment you see any success, all of the big time travel bloggers will jump on the method that you’re using. They want to stay in the lead…and they have the advertising budgets to dominate the little niche that you found. Sad.
At least you have your memories
Your memories are your prize. Don’t forget that. Travel blogging will absorb all of your time. It will consume you if you permit it.
In the end, you’ll get two things from your travels: incredible memories that will last forever and something to show your friends and family.
After all of your hard work, that’s what you’ll get from it. Website visitors? Google controls that. Facebook and instagram followers? Great, but that won’t do much for you.
Your memories are what matter. Take pictures that will make you smile 20 years later, because you will be the only one looking at that photo.
Don’t sacrifice your travel experience. Get off your phone and get off your computer. Live.
I’m not gonna lie, this was fun to write.