I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started my travel blog. It’s not been an easy road but I’m here to share my five lessons from five years of travel blogging!
Five years ago, in 2017, I had recently touched down in Australia. Five years ago (well just a little over) I started jamiechancetravels as a means of documenting my wife and I’s travels through Australia and later South East Asia. As I’m sure every travel blogger says, it was only really meant to be an easy way to keep friends and family updated and having a place to share my photos.
Fast forward five years, I’m back working full time as a solicitor, I’ve got a little baby girl and I’m busier than ever. My travel blog has, at times, been neglected but I just love writing and sharing my photography so there’s no way I’d stop now.
I’ve made many mistakes in my travel blogging career and I’ll always be of the view that there’s something more I should be doing. However, I thought I’d write this post to share my five lessons from five years of travel blogging to help others who are either just starting out or need a little advice now and again.
MY FIVE LESSONS FROM FIVE YEARS OF TRAVEL BLOGGING
This is probably the biggest lesson I’ve learnt myself. I’ve always wondered how people grow their travel blogs so quickly but the key is to be consistent; keep writing, keep taking photographs and keep posting. I’ve been very inconsistent over the last five years mostly due to working full-time as a child protection lawyer and adjusting to life in/after Covid-19. Things have always been relatively good on jamiechancetravels and things are getting better with recent paid press trips and record views. Guess what I put that down to – posting consistently. Whether it’s every other day, once a week or once a month, readers want to see regular content from you.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF SPENDING MONEY
Not everyone has this opportunity but one of my biggest regrets over my travel blogging career has been not investing in the blog such as for quality hosting or must-have plugins. I’ve definitely spent enough money on photography equipment but I’m finding now that you definitely get what you pay for.
After migrating the site back to WordPress from Squarespace, I initially reverted back to Siteground for hosting and still experienced problems with site speed and Core Web Vitals (key for SEO). I’ve now spent some serious money on hosting with Rocket.net and, for the first time, I’m super happy with what I’m seeing. I’m passing Core Web Vitals finally and alongside a paid caching plugin, I’m seeing results in the amount of views that I’m getting.
Honestly, don’t be afraid of spending money. I’m of the view that the more you put in, both in terms of effort and finances (unfortunately), the more you get back! I would say however that you should be careful as there will no doubt be many scams out there and ‘courses’ are not always the best things to be spending money on.
FOCUS ON YOUR BLOG NOT SOCIAL MEDIA
You’ll have seen many bloggers, both in the travel niche and beyond, say that you should always focus on your blog rather than social media. When I was starting out, whilst I paid attention to that, I couldn’t help but spend far, far too much time on Instagram then Pinterest then Twitter then back to Instagram.
Firstly, it seems harder than ever to grow a social media account these days, especially when your content is not shown to all of your followers, and any following you did create can change in an instant if the social media company changes their algorithm. This happened to me back in 2017 with Instagram – I had 5,000 followers growing daily with my images getting over 1,000 likes when almost overnight nothing seemed to work anymore. It wasn’t because of me (though it definitely knocks your self-confidence) but my social media has never truly recovered.
Instead, you should spend your time working on your travel blog. I wish I’d spent much more time over the last couple of years than I had as I love to see the progress which you know is purely down to your own hard work. Plus, remember this, your travel blog is the one thing you truly own.
HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOURSELF
This. Just this.
I don’t have much confidence or belief in what I do or what I’m capable of. I know that my photography is good and I’m regularly told that what I post is also good. However, there’s always that creeping self-doubt every time I share something. I guess because travel blogging and blogging generally is so personal.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHERS
I think this leads directly from the previous lesson. You don’t need to compare yourself constantly to others as doing so will impact on your self-confidence which in turn will be detrimental to your blog. I don’t mind taking inspiration from others (ie wow, X blogger has just been approved for Mediavine – I need to work harder) but I’m trying hard not to constantly compare myself to others.
Finally, I would just say to keep being you, keep doing what you do, and success (whatever that means for you) will come. For me, I would love, like many others, to create a travel blog that allowed me to be financially stable and allowed me to do this for a living. I will keep working and keep improving to see whether I can get any closer to that goal.
If you had said to me five years ago that I’d still be travel blogging, I’d be earning money from doing so and I’d have thousands of views a month there is no way that I would believe you.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who has ever visited my blog. Here’s to the next five years!
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