You're traveling around in your RV seeing the sights when it hits you: why keep all this to yourself? Whether you're looking to just connect with friends and family, or make a little money, a travel blog or vlog is a great way to do it. You're already traveling and taking photos and videos, so put them to good use! Here's how to start your own travel blog or vlog to share your experiences!
Blog vs Vlog: Is There A Difference?
The concept of a blog is relatively simple in that it is simply a website that allows you to put out information for others to find - think an online diary with more of a theme. Vlogging is a relatively newer term, meaning video blog, as opposed to having everything in writing. You don't have to stick to one or the other when creating your website's content. Many blogs bounce back and forth between typed-out blog articles and videos on different subjects. Many writers will post an article with both text and video, so that no matter what kind of audience lands on your page, it's there for them. Some people would rather sit and read while others would rather watch a video. Doing both gets both kinds of people on your blog!
Find Your Niche
The first step to creating a successful travel blog/vlog is to find your niche. There are already a lot of travel blogs and vlogs out there, so you need to find a way to make yours stand out and pique readers' interest. This should be considered in every aspect of your blog, from your blog's name, content, design, or things you offer on your blog. For example, you'll want to create content that nobody else is writing about. If everyone is writing about popular destinations, such as state and national parks, write about the smaller, lesser-known spots you've found that others would want to see and may not otherwise find. If you've been to one of the more popular destinations and found a unique activity, restaurant, or place to hang out that no one else seems to talking about, center your content on that while including some of the other information about the destination Think about who you want reading your blog, and what kinds of things they may want to find. Go beyond the destinations. Talk about those mistakes you've made in the travel process and how you would have done things differently, any special gear, devices, and gadgets that make your travels easier, and even amazing people you've met along the way. Keep in mind that a blog is an ever-changing piece of work. You can add to it, edit it, and delete things at will. So if you get started and what you're doing isn't working, you can change things very easily. Just remember, writing blogs should be as enriching for you as it is to the reader. Don't sell yourself out for search engine rankings and clicks at the cost of not enjoying what you write about!
Obtaining A Website
Once you have an idea of what you're going to post, you'll need a place to post it. Where you post will depend on how much time, money, and energy you want to put into where your website is and what it looks like. There are lots of free and inexpensive sites where you can host your blog, such as:
These sites offer easy-to-use templates that design the look and feel of your page while create pictures and text for it. In order to have your site hosted on these pages for free, however, you have to have a URL that generally ends with their URL. For example, if you wanted to call your blog iloveblogging.com and you hosted it on the free version of WordPress, your URL would be iloveblogging.wordpress.com. Some sites like these offer an upgrade where you pay a minimal fee and you can have your own URL without them tagged onto it. SquareSpace charges a small fee for their services, but you'll get your own domain name, which is a pretty fair trade!
If you want a more unique page, you can find a service to host it, but then you'll need someone to build the website for you. Whether this is your tech-savvy grandson or a developer you hire, it'll take someone with experience with writing code and designing websites. Great hosting companies to check out include:
Many of these sites have plenty of options to choose from, and prices will vary depending on what kind of hosting you want and how much space you need.
Some Dos And Don'ts of Blogging and Vlogging
Along with having a blog come some responsibilities. These are responsibilities to yourself, your audience, and other people's creative works. Some people jump into blogging without looking into some of these, and actually find themselves in trouble for using or saying something they shouldn't have. Here are some dos and don'ts to help you get started:
DoUse Your Own Content:
Write from your own experiences, not what you see someone else writing about. People don't want regurgitated info from the website of a campground they can already find on their own. Tell them about your experience there, places you went to nearby, and use your own photos. Think Of Keywords:
Keep keywords in mind as you're writing your post that would help your audience (or potential audience) find you and your posts. Keywords help direct search engines to your page, so the better the keywords are, the better your website traffic will be. For example, if you're writing about a destination, use the name of the destination more than once, and use words that describe the destination such as waterfalls, Great Lakes, and so on. This way if you're writing about MI's Upper Peninsula, you will not only get readers that are Googling "MI Upper Peninsula," but also things like "Destinations near the Great Lakes" or "Destinations with waterfalls." Now, this doesn't mean you can jam your post with as many keywords as possible and repeat them to the point that it's obvious what you're doing. This can actually have the opposite effect on how your web page is ranked with search engines, and it can affect the readability of your content, as the audience will get sick of reading the same word over and over, and it'll be obvious that you're trying to grub for rankings. Use Catchy Titles:
Titles are just as important as keywords in the way that they will bring more readers to your page, and they'll be more likely to read it if it's interested and grabs their attention. In fact, you'll want to include a keyword right in the title. For example, we have written a post for the TradeWinds blog on the card game euchre (a popular game here in the Mitten). If we titled the post simply "Euchre," then we'd be limiting our reach to only those that are looking for that specific word. It also may not look as enticing to someone that already knows what the game is, and it's pretty vague. Is it about how to play euchre? Is it a post about euchre strategy? For all your audience knows, "Euchre" could be a local band or restaurant. Instead, we titled our post about euchre "Learning The Game of Euchre – Becoming a Pro!
" which tells you that you can come here to learn more about what the game is, how to play it, and how to get really good at it. Get To The Point:
Have you ever gone to someone's website for a recipe, and had to scroll through a ton of text telling you all about their family, why they came to this recipe, and then every detail about where they shop and how they cooked it? That can make a reader quickly exit the page to find one that's going to give them what they want. Be concise and add relevant information, but avoid rambling. Nobody wants to read your minute-by-minute account of your day!
Don'tsCopy and Paste:
Never take someone else's work and paste it to your page as your own. You can quote and reference other articles, but you have to give the writer credit. Copying and pasting can have serious consequences. First, when your content is the exact same as another page's content, search engines will place you farther down in the results page when someone looks for it. More seriously, if the person who owns the original content finds your post, they can choose to take legal action against you for plagiarism, which could cost you some money, and worse, your credibility with your readers. Use Other's Images Without Permission/Credit:
Just like copying and pasting words, using someone's photos can be considered stealing. Just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's up for grabs. Using your own photos is the best way to go, but if you need an image you don't have, there are some rules of the game. You need to look for licensing on the images to find out if you can use it, and if so, what the artist requires for use by others. Some just ask that you give them credit on your page, while others require payment. There are also sites where you can buy stock images such as Shutter Stock
and Adobe Stock
, where you can purchase the right to use their images without having to link back to them. Sit Back And Wait For Them To Find You:
Share your content to get it out there! Put it on Facebook and Pinterest, or any social media you use. Yes, search engines will help when someone does a search for the content you have, but sharing your content on social media will help it circulate quickly and put it in front of readers, and if they like your content, will share it with others, gaining you more loyal readers! Now, get out there and experience life, and share your adventures with the world!