One of the best ways to make sure your travel blogging sets off on the right road is to dedicate time to conceptualizing and planning it—or at least deciding what direction you want it to go. While some people prefer the comfort of planning out every detail, others may like the freedom of adapting content on the fly.
Luckily, there’s space for both approaches when it comes to travel blogging. When you’re just getting off the ground, though, it’s important to make a few decisions to guide your future adventures.
Choose a Blog Style
Do you want to focus on domestic or international travel? Are you interested in every continent, or is there a specific region you want to become an expert in? Do you prefer posting “guidebook-like” content, or do you want to share experiences, memories and mishaps instead? Does documenting the practical logistics of travel appeal to you, or are you the type to like traveling the world as a free spirit and bringing your readers along for the spontaneous ride?
Though the subject matter of your blog may change over time as you discover the tone, voice and style that work best for you, consider allowing the inspiration and desire to start your blog to help you build the initial branding backbone of your blog. What is it about blogging that appeals to you? What do you love most about travel?
You should consider what initial interests you’d like to invest in. While successful travel blogs blend a variety of skills, there’s nothing wrong with leaning into photography at first while you’re developing your writing ability or vice versa. Similarly, a travel blog focused on food and sampling cuisines is going to look very different from a travel blog dedicated to month-long backpacking trips through the most remote areas in the world.
Figuring out these things offers positive impacts beyond your blog’s content, too: it can help you decide what gear to buy, what training (if any) you want or need to invest in and what kind of experiences interest you most. The more excited and passionate you are about the subject matter of your writing, the better your content will be.
Although much of your blog’s identity is something that will likely go hand in hand with figuring out your answer to questions about content, finding your audience is important enough to warrant dedicated thought and research. For better or worse, social media plays a key role in promoting travel bloggers—and when it comes to social media, you want to know what audience you’re writing, photographing and video-editing for.
A general rule of thumb is to appeal to whatever audience you can relate to. Are you most at home as a solo traveler or do you always travel as part of a group or with your family? If you’re a young adult or student traveler, you may be writing for those like you and not retirees. Budget travelers may have different content priorities than luxury travelers, too.
The difference in travel interests and priorities can be enormous from demographic to demographic. Generally, the more you have in common with your audience, the more your content will appeal to them. An ideal audience also has the potential to grow with you. Age is perhaps the most obvious example, but also consider hobbies: the audience for a photography travel blog will likely support a shift toward videography over time while a nature and wildlife-focused blog may lose its audience if content suddenly pivots toward urban jungles and street food.
Decide on a Name
Once you’ve decided on the initial approach for your blog, it’s time to pick a name. Though your content may change over time, it’s unlikely your name will—and if you’re a successful travel blogger, your name is one of the most important parts of your brand.
Choose something creative, memorable and not too overdone (“nomad” springs to mind as an overused word). Avoid anything not likely to age well or that limits you to a certain type of content: “21 and Traveling” or “American Adventures” are cute, but might become tough to spin once you get older or travel out of America. Importantly, the name should be easy to share with others; numbers and symbols might seem cool at first, but they become significantly less so when you’re spelling out your blog’s URL over hostel breakfast in a place where hardly anyone knows your native language.
Once you have a good name, google it to make sure no one else is using the name. If there’s nothing out there, you’re probably in the clear. If you find something similar, go back to the drawing board—even if it stings. A new name is better than getting into any litigious action down the road.
Leave Room for Growth
Very few travel blogs (or any kind of blogs or media project, for that matter), end up exactly as originally imagined. Ideas evolve over time—and often for good reason. The exchange student you are at 20 is going to have different interests, ideas, priorities and skills than the adult you are at 30. It may seem like you’re making big decisions right now, but don’t commit to hard and fast rules involving “only” or “never”: this blog is your boarding pass, not your baggage claim receipt.