This is a guest post by Cameron Tyler
Few endeavors are more exhilarating and eye-opening than travel. Hopping on a plane and, after a few hours, touching down in an unfamiliar locale can serve to expand your horizons far faster than any class or book ever could. The feeling of interacting with people from different backgrounds who speak another language and with whom you have next to nothing in common is surprisingly unifying. And of course there’s the added bonus of getting a firsthand view of historic sites, architecture and nature on your trips, all of which can create lasting impressions and memories.
All these aspects of travel make excellent fodder for an exciting, readable blog, and as a world traveler, you’re naturally inclined to share your adventures with the world—or, at the very least, with a reading audience on the Internet. But there are many elements that go into creating a successful blog beyond just content. Design, fonts, colors, photos—all these are as important as your literary genius. You don’t want your travel blog to look and sound like everyone else’s—or, more accurately, like anyone else’s. In order to capture the attention of your readership, your blog must be uniquely eye-catching as well as offering well-written, concise and interesting tales of your voyages.
Here are some simple tips to help you create the best possible travel blog.
If you’re like most travelers, you lug your camera around to every major site you visit on your vacations. The Eiffel Tower, Westminster Abbey, the Statue of Liberty—you’ve got all those in your collection and could easily display them on your page. The problem, though, is that readers can conduct a quick Google search and turn up similar images on numerous other websites, which takes away from the uniqueness of your blog. The best way to circumnavigate this problem is to capture unique photos on your travels that no one else will be able to offer. Keep in mind that some of the best travel photos are not of famous architecture, but of people the photographer encountered along the way.
Although a previous post on this site has already covered this aspect of blog composition, the general idea bears repeating. The colors, fonts and other design elements of your blog go a long way toward holding your readers’ interest. Consider the blogs you read yourself: Do they use interesting typefaces and attention-grabbing headers? What design elements of those blogs inspire you to keep reading?
Try to find a way to translate the overall theme of your own blog—be it a summer in Europe, a world tour, or even just your weekly trips over the river to Grandma’s house—into applicable design elements on your blog page. A blog about a semester in Italy, for example, might be best represented through the use of the green, white and red hues found in that country’s flag. Or think a bit outside the box: if your travels to Amsterdam instilled in you a love of tulips, consider incorporating those bright blues, reds and oranges into your blog design.
Blog readers can be a fickle bunch. Some of them are in it for the long haul and will follow you and your blog through thick and thin, determinedly slogging with you through even your most harrowing tales of travel disasters. Others are more selective, skimming through your blog for the stories that most interest them. This last bunch is the group you’ll have to try hardest to incorporate into your readership roster, and for this reason, a well-crafted sidebar can be just the hook you need. Although the article this reader lands on initially may not be his particular cup of tea, he may find another one through your sidebar that appeals more directly to his interests, which could in turn result in a new, dedicated reader of your blog. And that’s just what you’re aiming for, right?
4. Find Your Niche
Even if you’re the world’s most well-traveled individual, flitting off to Japan or Costa Rica or Djibouti every other weekend, it may not be effective to have such a wide scope on your blog. Most readers have more limited interests; therefore, the best approach may be a narrower one. Consider an emphasis on one geographical area, like Western Europe, or one theme, like bridges or architecture. You could even try your hand at a narrower focus, such as Chicago hotels or Parisian museums. All these ideas could help you build a particular readership that would be interested in your blog as a whole rather than just one or two posts therein.
5. Consider Your Audience
Hey, remember those fickle blog readers? Those enigmatic souls are the reason you’re writing this blog in the first place, so keep them in mind with every post you write. If you wouldn’t want to read your blog, chances are good they wouldn’t, either. Your word choice and ability to keep your readers engaged are ultimately what will determine the success or failure of your blog, so use the best, most illustrative and expressive language you can find. Keep in mind also that structure and grammatical correctness play a huge role in making a blog post readable, so take this age-old advice: find a friend to proofread your brilliant missives before you put them out there for the world to see.
Writing a blog is an ongoing challenge; you’ll never reach a point of equilibrium where you won’t need to expend as much effort to maintain your success. To that end, you must start off on the right foot by creating a well-designed, visually appealing blog and then continue to write strong content accompanied by striking photography. This is a formula that, while difficult to achieve, will result in a high quality blog that will draw in a strong and dedicated audience of readers.
About this post’s author:
Cameron is a freelance writer who contributes to www.cooksandtravelbooks.com. If you have any questions, you can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @camerontyler87