15 Lessons From Turning My Travel Blog Into A Career

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Kate at WITS

There are a handful of questions that I get asked several times a week when on the road (or even at home).

The first, far and away the most popular, is, “What’s your favorite place?” So hard to answer! (Though stay tuned, because an upcoming feature in October will answer that once and for all.)

The second is, “How did you get so many followers?” Or some variation on, “How did you start making enough money to do it full-time?”

Honestly, I never know how to answer that. It’s been a long, slow process of five and a half years of meticulously growing an audience. Five and a half years worth of micro-decisions that ended up paying off big in the future.

So I decided to put together a collection of the lessons that I’ve learned during that time.

Before you read this, here’s the most important part: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY.

There are plenty of bloggers who have done different things from me and have gone on to become hugely successful in their own right.

In fact, I’m sure that every point on this list will be disagreed with by another successful blogger. And that’s fine. There isn’t a linear map to blogging success; if that were the case, everyone would be doing the same thing.

This is simply what worked for me personally and enabled me to never go back to work after I quit my job in 2010.

RELATED: How to Start A Travel Blog The Right Way

I also want to add that there are a few other things that worked for me that can’t be duplicated: I started Adventurous Kate early-ish (early 2010) and I had been blogging for seven years prior to that, so I had an established voice. You can’t fake either of those.

Here we go:

All Kate's Posessions

1) Embrace writing about the negative and ugly parts of travel along with the good stuff.

The most common thing I hear from readers is, “You’re so honest.” I love that.

I’ve always written about the negative things along with the positive, both within and outside the world of travel. I think it’s important to present the whole experience, not just the prettiest parts.

And that extends to sponsored content and blog trips as well. Most infamously is my shipwreck in Indonesia, but also on my comped tour in Kakadu National Park in Australia, I wrote about how it was way, way too rushed. And my discomfort on the Blue Train in South Africa, culminating with us being attacked with rocks by striking farmers.

These days, I even go through everything that went wrong each month, and my readers love my “worst travel moments of the year” post every December.

It worked because: My readers feel like they can trust me to tell the truth. Trust is the most important currency you have.

City Beach Dubrovnik

2) Write prolifically in the early days.

When I first started Adventurous Kate, I would publish new posts at least five days each week. The posts back then weren’t as long as the ones I write now, but at that point in time it was more important to publish more often.

As a new blogger, you’re starting with an audience of zero and you’ll be trying to grab people’s attention over and over. Writing new posts constantly is your best chance of getting people to come back for more and eventually subscribe.

These days, I see lots of new bloggers writing only occasional posts — think every two weeks — and they are wondering why it’s taking so long to grow. Well, that’s a big part of it.

Write prolifically in your first year. You can slow down in the future if you wish, but keep the posts coming like crazy for now.

It worked because: I kept reminding people I existed through new posts, and they were encouraged to subscribe for more.

Kate Rowing Down the River

3) Don’t waste time gaming social media.

Check out any online discussion group devoted to blogging and you’ll find several topics learning how to best use different social networks, and the discussion inevitably turns toward “gaming” the system to earn yourself more followers and/or traffic.

On StumbleUpon, it’s a calculated cocktail of stumbling lots of interesting travel stories and occasionally slipping one of your own in, hoping it goes viral.

On Facebook, it’s buying thousands of cheap fans in the form of teenage boys from Mongolia, Egypt, and India.

On Twitter, it’s following and unfollowing random people constantly so you can gain more quality followers.

On Instagram, it’s finding a popular photo, stalking the users who like it, following them, and unfollowing them if they don’t follow you back quickly.

My point of view on that has always been the same: Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’ve built a pretty strong social media following without having to result to gimmicks. How did I do it? I post good things and act like a human. And people follow me because they like what I share.

It worked because: I spent that extra time creating quality content instead of chasing gimmicks.

Table Mountain Flowers

4) Know that direct traffic isn’t the only end goal.

It’s easy to think that your one and only goal is to drive traffic to your blog. Getting people to read your blog is the primary goal, of course, but it’s not the only goal.

Having a blog is more than just driving traffic to your site, over and over. It’s also about creating a visible presence in your readers’ lives. You’re a personality. You’re constantly reminding them that you exist.

And that brings up Instagram and Snapchat. Neither of these platforms give you the option of linking to your blog (Instagram lets you change your site URL in your profile, but nothing on the actual images). And for that reason, some bloggers have eschewed those platforms, particularly the latter, altogether.

I disagree with that mindset.

Since I became active on Snapchat in particular, it’s now one of my top networks. It may not directly drive traffic to my blog, but almost every single day, someone references my snaps on an Instagram photo or Facebook post or tweet or blog comment. Everything feeds into each other.

It worked because: A blogging career goes well and beyond the blog itself. You need to be a personality, and that means being everywhere.

Kate at the Dead Sea

5) Have a full RSS feed.

If you want to subscribe to a blog, you do so by its RSS feed, and it alerts you when there is a new post. Many people get their RSS feeds by email; many others choose to use an RSS reader. I recommend using a reader, especially if your email is chock full of everything and you never want to miss a post on your favorite blogs.

(My recommendation? Use Feedly, then type in the blogs you want to follow. If you have an iPhone, get the Reeder app as well. It syncs perfectly with Feedly and will download all your feeds, including photos, when connected to wifi.)

Does RSS send traffic to your site? Sometimes. Sometimes someone will click through if they want to leave a comment or share it. Others just read it and move on.

Some bloggers have a partial or incomplete feed, which means that their posts show up blank. Most have no idea (this often happens after a redesign); some deliberately choose to do that so people will click through and get more pageviews.

Does that work? It doesn’t matter. You may get more pageviews with a partial feed, but you’ll be annoying your readers. And annoying your readers is the last thing you want to do.

It worked because: I made my content as easy as possible for people to find, discover, and read, attracting new readers and keeping old ones.

Hongdae

6) Stop freelance writing.

For a long time — until early 2014, actually! — freelance writing was one of my primary forms of income. Many travel bloggers take the same route, starting by writing for $25 per post and living somewhere cheap like Chiang Mai to keep expenses down until the $75 gigs come in, then the even bigger gigs.

It’s a popular monetization route, but few travel bloggers are making a good living from it. I have some friends who have transitioned into full-time, well-paid freelance travel writers — but they are the anomaly.

Freelance travel writing is hard — not in the way that coal mining or heart surgery is hard, obviously, but it’s a challenging way to make a living. The pay is terrible, particularly when you’re getting started. The hours are long. The industry is shrinking all the time. Buzzfeed-style content dominates the internet. And you’re held to the whims of an editor, which can be difficult when you’ve been writing for yourself for so long.

As much as I enjoy writing about travel, I detest freelance travel writing. After losing a big writing gig that provided my only regular income in early 2014, I was reminded of how tenuous of a career it can be, and I decided to make a big change.

It worked because: For most (not all!) people, freelance writing is too much work for too little pay with no reliability.

Kate in Durban

7) Shift your income to affiliate marketing.

By far, this is the smartest thing that I did in my travel blogging career. Affiliate marketing is linking to products and getting a commission if someone buys it, at no extra cost to them. And I think that it’s majorly underutilized in travel blogging.

So many bloggers think that you need to have insane traffic levels in order to make good money from affiliates. That’s true for display advertising (think ad networks like Google Adwords), but it’s not true at all for affiliate marketing. You just need to have a few posts that do reasonably well traffic-wise and convert decently.

I started with a big post promoting a few high ticket affiliates, and it took off. It’s been more than a year and that post still provides a huge portion of my income.

Affiliate marketing is brilliant in that it’s largely “set it and forget it.” There’s a lot of work in the beginning to write and promote the post, but once it starts earning, it runs on itself. For this reason, this year I’ve been able to take breaks from work without worrying about hustling for money, and you may have noticed that I haven’t run a single branded content post since 2014 (!). I don’t need to anymore.

Another perk? With affiliates, I get paid regularly and on time, which is a huge change from many of my former freelancing clients.

Today, a whopping 79% of my income comes from affiliate marketing. That scares me, as you should never have all of your eggs in one basket. But as long as affiliate marketing comes from a diverse array of resources (lots of different products and programs, traffic from search and from the site itself), you should be in good condition.

It worked because: After getting it set up, affiliate marketing would continue earning on a regular basis without requiring any extra work.

Garden Village Bled

8) Invest in top-notch tech gear.

When you live on your computer and phone like I do, it makes such a difference to have quality devices.

I started my long-term travels while working on tiny netbook PCs, thinking that the cheap and light machines would be best for me. They’re great for travelers, but not travelers who work on the road. They just didn’t have the power to take me into the future (or even edit photos decently without crashing).

Three years ago I upgraded to a MacBook Air and it made all the difference in the world. I vastly prefer Macs to PCs and I’m glad to have a quality machine. (Though when it’s time for my next computer, I think I’ll go with a MacBook Pro for better battery life and power.)

As for phones, I’m an iPhone girl through and through. Yes, other smartphones are cheaper, and I’ve done campaigns for some of them, but they’re just not as good and intuitive as an iPhone. Today my phone has 128 GB, which is so much better than constantly having to delete stuff on a 16 GB phone.

It worked because: When you have quality tech gear, you work better and much more efficiently.

Kate in the Infinity Pool

9) Get out of Southeast Asia.

When I kicked off my full-time travels with a six-month trip to just Southeast Asia in 2010, I was the only travel blogger doing anything like that. At that time, most travel bloggers were taking RTW trips or teaching English abroad. I felt so original.

Fast forward to 2015 and everyone is traveling long-term in Southeast Asia. Which isn’t good.

Let me be clear: Southeast Asia is a fantastic destination for a traveler. It’s exotic, it’s cheap, it’s easy, and the food is divine. I highly recommend going at least once in your life.

For a travel blogger, however, Southeast Asia could not be more cliché. If you’re trying to make it as a travel blogger, I recommend you go anywhere else. Everyone has written to death about Koh Phi Phi, Luang Prabang, and Hoi An. It will be hard for you to stand out and be original.

And so this past winter I went to Central America, which seems to get only a fraction of the coverage that Southeast Asia gets today. It was a great decision, as I received constant messages from readers telling me they had never thought about traveling to Central America until they saw what I wrote about it.

It worked because: Veering away from what everyone else was doing allowed me to stand out more.

Wadi Rum at Sunrise

10) Stop leaping from press trip to press trip.

I think every blogger goes through stages, and it’s wise to be cognizant about the stage you’re currently in. (I think I might be in the affiliate the f*ck out of everything! stage.)

We all go through stages, and we all change our minds at some point. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re human. We’re in a new and rapidly evolving industry. If something’s not working, we can change our minds and do something else.

One of my stages was the take-every-press-trip-you-can stage, which began in late 2011. At that point in time, I thought press trips were the badge of a successful travel blogger, and I took a lot of press trips for a long time. That press trip spree went on until early 2013.

Then I realized, as I wrote here, that my press trip-based coverage was starting to feel flat and lifeless. Even worse, a few of my readers had complained about it, saying they missed the old me. So I reduced my press trips enormously and traveled more on my own.

That worked for more than a year, but it spun out of control again when I joined the Must Love Festivals campaign last summer. I think Must Love Festivals is a brilliant project (it was built by my friends) and I was thrilled to be part of it, but I made a mistake of committing to too many festivals, extending the trips so I could explore the destinations more, and running myself ragged, to the detriment of myself and my blog.

I had made myself look like the girl who would take any trip for money.

After years of experimentation with balance, I think the best practice for me today is to take occasional press trips (maybe two or three per year) but have the majority of my travels be independent, going wherever I want and paying for it myself.

It worked because: I followed my instincts — I was starting to feel icky about taking too many press trips, and my readers agreed. Your instincts are probably correct.

This goes along with my next point:

Kate Ziplining Monteverde

11) Reduce comps and freebies drastically.

In my four-month trip to Central America this winter and spring, I accepted exactly three comps: a stay at Yemaya Retreat on Little Corn Island, my three-day Belize sailing cruise, and a shark snorkeling trip, which I was actually going to pay for until I showed up and they wouldn’t take my money.

In my two-month trip to Europe this summer, I had…zero comps!

And boy, does that feel good. It’s such a relief to know that 1) I don’t have the pressure to write about comps all the time and 2) my readers won’t feel like they’re bombarded with sponsored stuff.

And it’s paying off. I’ve spoken to readers privately, and the response is almost universal that they prefer reading about activities that I pay for myself. It makes them feel like I’m more like a normal traveler.

And that goes beyond travel activities. I’d much rather buy a product I like and write a post about it, making affiliate commissions off the resulting sales, than get a product for free and be obligated to write about it.

It worked because: I had more freedom to write as I pleased.

Pensacola Beach

12) Stop trying to make as much money as humanly possible.

For most of us travel bloggers, it’s a long, hard slog before you’re making any kind of decent money. For me, it was very difficult for years — more so than I let on here. I never went into negative numbers, but there were some very lean times.

The worst time was in September 2013 when I was down to $200 in my checking account and was owed more than $9,000 from clients who were late paying me!

So once things start going right after years of just scraping by, it gets tempting to start making as much cash as possible.

If I wanted to, I could fill my blog with branded content posts, constant advertising, brand partnerships, advertising for other bloggers. I could turn my Instagram feed into nonstop ads. I could stay nowhere but sponsored luxury hotels everywhere I go. I could hashtag the f*ck out of everything.

But I don’t. I stick primarily to affiliates, leading tours, and the occasional well-tailored campaign that is a good fit for me and my site. While I haven’t really done a brand ambassadorship, I’d be open to doing one with a company I love. (Urban Decay? MAC? Miu Miu? Alexander McQueen? I’m available!)

I don’t want to come across as the girl who once had a great blog and turned it into a wasteland of sponsored crap, just trying to make as much money as possible. Some blogs I’ve read for a long time have gone that route, and it makes me sad.

It worked because: I keep up good, genuine, unsponsored content that pulls in new readers and keeps the long-timers.

Kate in San Juan del Sur

13) Hire quality staff instead of outsourcing for cheap.

If you want a cheap virtual assistant, you can hire someone in Romania or the Philippines or Bangladesh for just a few dollars per hour.

And while sometimes people like this could be useful, especially if you have easy but time-consuming work to be done, I chose not to go that route. For the roles that I have, I want people who are highly educated and intimately familiar with this industry.

At the moment, I have a few people working for me on various aspects of running this site. They’re all college graduates (some with graduate degrees), talented, and well-versed in the industry. They’re compensated what they’re worth, and it’s worth every penny.

It worked because: I get a bigger return on my investment.

Rendezvous Caye Belize

14) Read everything.

I read more than 100 travel blogs regularly. I don’t love every blog I read, but I treat them like trade publications.

I think it’s important to stay up to date on what everyone in your industry is doing. This way, I find out which bloggers are working with the same companies, who is embracing a new kind of technology, who is doing a new or unusual kind of campaign, and what is currently trending in the travel world.

Equally important — or even more important — is reading blogs outside the travel niche. Because it’s so easy to get tunnel vision, and this is a very small community. There’s so much more than what we see in front of us.

Travel blogs don’t make anywhere near the level of money that fashion, food, mommy, business, and beauty blogs make. If there are new innovations in blogging, you’ll likely see them in other niches long before you see it in travel blogging.

Finally, it’s smart to read about business and technology in general. Some of the best pieces pop up out of nowhere. Read everything you can get your eyes on and you will learn, learn, learn.

It worked because: The more you know, the better the decisions you can make.

Kate, Lisa, Cailin, Mike and Steph at Bloghouse Milwaukee

15) Find the best community.

You’ve heard me extol the virtues of Travel Blog Success repeatedly on this site, but it’s the truth — TBS is an incredible group and the best resource on the web for learning how to make money as a travel blogger.

While the other Facebook blogging groups are a bit crazy, the Travel Blog Success group is the one forum I go when I need help. And it’s the one forum where I give help to bloggers. You’ll see a lot of top travel bloggers there, helping newbie bloggers with their questions.

Also, there are lots of perks for members. The latest? Go on one of Leif’s Runaway Tours and get 10% off!

I also recently joined (and paid for) the Videography Course via the Paradise Pack, but I haven’t had time to delve into the lessons yet this summer. Soon!

TRAVEL BLOG SUCCESS IS ON SALE

Travel Blog Success is having its summer sale — and after the sale, the price of the course is going up.

Travel Blog Success course is now 35% off (savings of $121.45) until Friday, July 31, 2015 at 11:00 PM ET.

I always tell people to buy the course when it’s on sale — and considering that the regular price is about to go up, this is the best time possible to make a purchase.

Yes, I get an affiliate commission for everyone I refer to TBS. (And I should! I’ve sent them more than 80 new members!) But you know how much I believe in this product. I’ll see you in the forums.

It worked because: Having that sounding board has saved me from making more bad decisions.

Firefighter Kate in Helsinki

And Things I Could Do Better

That’s not to say that I haven’t made any missteps along the way. I’ve made PLENTY!

My site design is dated and atrocious; luckily, a redesign (an outstanding redesign) is currently underway. I’ve been horrible with Pinterest, but I recently hired a new employee to take over that aspect of my site. I should have released my first product years ago, but I’m making up for lost time now.

As I wrote earlier, you’re always able to change your mind if something’s not working. So take advantage of that.

PIN IT!

15 LESSONS-3

What is the smartest move that you ever made in your career?

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180 thoughts on “15 Lessons From Turning My Travel Blog Into A Career”

  1. I love the post Kate and as usual, you tell it like it is with very salient points and for that, you deserve every success and some.

    As far as my professional career is concerned, the smartest move that I ever made was to initially move to Prague which opened the door to my love for “the East” and then to Berlin.

    Re-my blogging career, the smartest move in my opinion, is to accept that there is a right way to blogging success and then go a head and blog my own way! I blog once a week in about 2,000-ish words, in my voice, about the things that I like to do or the places that I like to go to.

    I can’t talk for others of course, but it works for me in the sense that I recentlly had part of a documentary done on me as a British expat in Berlin, a radio interview, a European paper interview, and got myself on a LIVE prime-time programme on German TV as a “monarchy expert” and a side TV moderator. You can’t get any better than that LOL!

  2. Such great advice! Thank you for your honesty and sharing your wealth of knowledge! We are still so new to this and sometimes it’s hard not to compare yourself to other established blogs or wonder why it takes so long to get a huge following on social media. I really appreciate the fact that these things take time (even if I do get a little frustrated at the lengthy process!).

    This post has been saved to our “favourites” and will be one we regularly re-read for some quality reminders and perspective from the top!

  3. Great post, which does make you think! I am relatively new to blogging, so I grab every opportunity to travel, including press trips. Like you, I am realizing more and more, that’s a no go for me, as in the end you are ending up on trips you don’t really feel for and doing things you don’t like, what can clearly be seen in your writing. It was a month ago, when I sad I have to stop doing this and do what I really like…and travel on a way I am happy to.
    I also did a lot of freelance writing, but now I only write two, maybe three articles per year – I ended with it because I just rather write for myself and for my blog.
    Thanks for confirming my own thoughts 🙂 Cheers, Nina

  4. Great tips Kate! Thanks for being so honest and simply telling it as it is and revealing what has worked for you.

    Our blog is only 1,5 year old, but we have already started to earn a bit from affiliate links. Yay! 🙂 So will try and focus more on that. Especially thanks for tip number 6, as freelance writing was something I was planning on focusing on next. So now I will not, hehe.

    What blog post of yours are you referring to here: “I started with a big post promoting a few high ticket affiliates, and it took off. It’s been more than a year and that post still provides a huge portion of my income.”?

    Thanks again Kate! You are awesome! 🙂

  5. Hi,

    thanks for all these good informations. I´m just getting started and I really try to avoid mistakes. So it helps me lot to read about. And … I instictly did some things right and it´s nice to hear about it.
    I agree with you about Asia. I also prefer Latain America. So I live now in Brazil (origin from Germany) and started travelling in El Salvador, Panama & Honduras. No one else does, so I´m unique. I´m far away to make money out of this, but I don´t neet it. I´m covered and can do things without sponsoring. So I think this will help me, to get the trust from people…. and the money will come throug Affilale Marketing one day.

    So big thank you for your feedback!

    Kind regard Marlene

  6. This is one of the greatest post to learn more about traveling lessons which will help me to be a full professional traveler. I am learning through your blog and others. I hope in near future we will get a more inspirational post form you, Thanks for posting.

  7. I love your honesty. It’s one of the reasons I really like your blog! I really think some of the best stories come from the negatives. Some of my funniest and favorite travel experiences stemmed from a bad or embarrassing experience. When I think back to family trips growing up, it’s not the ones that went smoothly that left an impact, or a memory that leaves your abs in dire pain from how hard it makes you laugh.
    I do like the fact that you say that social media marketing isn’t the end all and to not rely on gaming it. I’ve been trying to promote my blog via social media and I find it frustrating, because to some it really is a game. I def don’t have time to mess around with that follow/unfollow nonsense. And I love the Sweet Brown reference haha!
    Nicole

  8. too much to take in! I dont know if it’s because I also work 90 hours a fortnight or what, but getting more traffic and success to my blog feels nigh on impossible. How can you read 100 travel blogs? That’s insane! I follow dozens and try to read as many posts as I can, but sometimes it’s like the words are just blurring in front of me! Nevertheless, a great and useful post!

    1. Honestly, if I’m not enjoying a post, I’ll skip to the next one. But I make an effort on all of them. It helps to use Feedly and the Reeder app — I read a lot on transportation!

  9. Thank you so much for this post Kate. There were a lot of points that hit home for me. I’ve been around the blog-a-sphere for quite some time and was getting caught up in the “hoorah” of it all. I know it sounds cheesy and cliche but this post is so freeing. Thanks so much!

  10. This is an awesome post! Great to hear the way you go about things. I love the honesty you have about the mistakes you’ve made along with the successes you’ve made. It’s very comforting to hear things like this from someone so established. Thanks Kate 🙂

  11. This is so helpful and a lot of new information from the typical “how to be a travel blogger” post. I don’t really think being a full-time travel blogger is for me, but I do blog and often it’s about travel and I really want to continually improve, so many of these things really inspired me. Thank you!

  12. Well written. I really like your posts because I can imagine myself travelling like you and my eyebrows don’t get raised because you all of a sudden are swanking it up after backpacking…those bloggers are too inconsistent for me.

  13. I’m glad you are honest and don’t have tons of posts featuring comps you’ve received from companies–it makes your content more engaging and authentic. I also think it’s great you mentioned social media. There are so many articles about what you can do to get more followers, but really what’s important is how you interact with your audience and how you build a community with them. I find that’s more meaningful and exciting.

  14. Hi Kate,

    Allelujah, finally someone who is down to earth. What normally puts me off of travel blogs is the start of the simple traveling turn into expensive hotels and paid for places. It becomes so in ur face kinda thing. I used to follow someone who started with the cheapest of the cheap but now when the money is pouring in and they are a wanted travel person who’s trips are now paid for and pretty much luxurious, I am totally put off. What’s the point of travelling and writting about expensive places when majority can’t afford or won’t stay in them? The whole point of traveling is to make it accessible to everyone. The way I see a traveller – a person who doesn’t splash out on luxury but looks for simple and as cheap as possible. In another words ” a simple way of travelling”.

    1. Thanks so much, Suzi! Everyone has their own preference, and there is definitely a market for luxury travelers, but I do think it’s important to be somewhat consistent to who you are as a traveler and not go too out of left field on the freebies.

  15. Oh this was fate! I just started my own travel blog and am tip-toeing around the idea of making it professional. I decided to look at some successful travel blogs for inspiration and this is one of the first posts I stumbled across! #2 was especially revolutionary for me. I had actually been purposefully delaying my new posts in fear of annoying my current social media circles. It’s so nice to hear that I was wrong and I can release my backlog of posts.

    I’m kind of confused by what you mean with the RSS feed (my newbie status is showing). Do you mean I should put my blog onto a site like feedly? How exactly do you do that??

    Thanks so much for the great tips, I can’t wait to read more of your work!

  16. Another great post! I love how honest and real you were when giving advice. The help you give is priceless and I thank you for that as well as the constant posts which motivate all of us that want to full time travel blog.

  17. Great advice, kate! I myself just started a travel blog and I see that there are tons and tons of others doing the same. Although my first big trip will be to Southeast Asia, I will be going to a wide variety of other destinations shortly and I understand why SEA has been overdone. It’s a popular spot, but it will not be the main focus of my blog. I also appreciate the advice about creating quality content. I feel like the most successful bloggers don’t necessarily do what everyone else does, but instead focuses on posting about real topics, having a human personality online, and understands that a lot of blogging has to do with relatability.

  18. Kate, this is a really great post, not just for bloggers but anyone trying to start, run and keep up a business. Lots of very good points and as always, your honesty is appreciated when it comes to cutting through the bullshit.

  19. This is a solid post that’s for sure. Great insight into someone that’s been doing it for a lot longer than I have! It’s always interesting to get different perspectives. I’d love to hear a little more about your time management at some point if you had time (hehehehe). I find it easy to say all this stuff but much harder to do it practically!

    Thanks for the post!

  20. Thanks for sharing your first-hand knowledge with us! Your blog is awesome, an inspiration & is always filled with valuable information! Thank you!!!

  21. Hi Kate,
    I found your blog and your advices very helpful in starting a blog for the first time.
    I couldn’t agree more on the advice about honest writing cause I’m also pretty bored with people finding every destination ‘the most beautiful destination ever’.
    I’m writing my journal where I’m always into writing the honest opinion on everything that happened on the road cause I think that’s the only way people can really get the idea of the place.

    Thanks for sharing,
    greetings from Croatia!

  22. Hi,

    As new to the industry and just getting started, I really loved this. What a great post!

    You gave a lot of info and straight to the point. As anybody starting this industry, you start reading many How to…. This is the best one by far. Thanks a lot

  23. Wow, what a post. I’m going to have to read this one about 10 more times, highlight, and repeat. I’m brand spanky new to blogging and building a social media presence and I already can see the amount of work required to build something beautiful. I appreciate the time you took to spell out the do’s and don’ts! The information you have provided is invaluable. I look forward to learning from you and can’t wait to read though everything you’ve written!
    Take care,

    Jill Charpia,
    http://www.traveltillyoudrop.com

  24. Girl, you won me over. You seem down-to-earth and I’d like to learn your style.

    I don’t necessarily want to blog exclusively about travel, but I’d love to blog/YouTube for a living. I’m *literally* just starting out and I hope it goes somewhere.

    Thanks for the post, I’m a follower now.

    gordygordyblog.blogspot.com

  25. Thanks for the great hints, Kate! I wish all blogs had an RSS feed, especially if they don’t post frequently. It really makes it easier to follow the blog, whether people use Feedly, Bloglovin or any of the traditional feed reader software.

  26. Kate

    I stared following you just prior to WITS15 which in fact is how I found out about the event…you inspired me to I bought a ticket and attended…I’ve started a blog but got intimated as my computer knowledge is nil…thanks so much for sharing this post and being open and honest as you are in all your posts. You may be adventurous but you are also AMAZING.

    Janis

  27. Thanks for the advice, I’m doing research to start a travel blog and this has really helped. Its good to hear that people appreciate honesty.

  28. I love South East Asia…!! And my followers (mostly from East Africa) are seeing as I go from country to country, that it can actually be done..I am actually thinking of spending a longer period there.
    Another place that is barely touched by travel bloggers is the African continent.., Sub-Saharan Africa…because Africa is not just South Africa and North African countries like Egypt or Morrocco which is like S.E.Asia a wee bit overdone. Africa seems expensive though, I am in Kenya now and a weed at the Mara took me 200 euros back (and that is cheap), you can easily cough out 2000 euros on Maasai Mara if you choose the five-star experiences..groan!

    1. You’re right, Sub-Saharan Africa is massively underdone in the travel blogging world. Brendan from brendansadventures.com covered a ton of western and Sub-Saharan Africa on his site.

  29. Really apreciate this post Kate! I’ve been blogging for 3 years and I totally agree with you. Consistency is a must and write 4-5 post per week. I think bloggers are too focus on get followers in social media that they forget about content and their readers.
    Next year I will quit my job to blog full time and focus on my travel blogging and new projects like writing a book. So excited!
    I would like to ask you, as I read you are hiring an agent. Could you send me his/her contact? Just if you don’t mind.

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!

  30. Hey, Kate.

    Thank you for this post. I am 23 and new to travel blogging. Currently, I am actually doing it to raise money for charity and living off of years of savings but hope to one day use the coverage to become my own for-profit travel blogger (I hope that makes sense). I definitely like the tips and pointers and will try to incorporate as many as possible. But, as you say, it is a slow and meticulous process and I am just along for the ride right now.

    I hope all is well, thank you for being real, and take a look at http://www.TravelWithMitch.com if you ever get the opportunity 🙂 Hope you have a great day!

  31. Great post. Just started my blogging career and I’ve made a priority to not concentrate on the money aspect. Focus is first and foremost to create great posts and secondly to find readers for those posts.

    Will definitely be visiting this blog in the future to hopefully learn more.

    Tyler
    Life of Ty

  32. You just dropped some serious knowledge on my ass & it hurts so good. Thanks for being an industry leader who honesty cares about others’ success & development. I’ll definitely be taking these tips to heart & doing my best to implement them in my travel/work balance. Youda best youda youda best.

  33. Hi Kate
    That is such a great post, I have kinda freaked out this week worried about trying to become more proactive at earning money while I travel and write and write my blog. Stop freelance writing and Spend time building affiliates! Sounds good but can you recomend some resources or links for beginer bloggers about how to start with this? I searched through your site already but couldnt find anything. Thanks Donna

  34. Amen. I’m really glad I went back to working full time after my 2nd long-term trip, because it gives me enough resources to make my blog grow without feeling compelled to take every single thing that comes my way. Only when it is good and ready can I go back to relying on it for income and being a full-time business (once it achieves similar goals to what you described- hopefully all affiliates).

    That being said, I’d only add a footnote in that you *can* advertise on Facebook without gaming the system. I’m advertising a local blog of mine and getting real followers in my city for about 10 cents a like. This is translating into rapid growth, real engagement, and so on and so forth. That being said, I think it really only works because it involves targeting people in a region that actually has real accounts who want the content I’m sharing. Global blogs can’t advertise at all on Facebook due to lack of a focus, and going to Mongolia for 1 cent likes… well,.. good luck!

  35. Loved this post, I was wondering what your honest opinion is on people just starting a travel blog now. Without any internet blogging history. Is there still room to make money and to gain followers with so many bloggers out there with established roots in the travel blog world?

  36. I am so inspired at your blog. I have just started a blog about my hometown – Cebu Philippines and I have learned a lot about your tips. I am one of those people who wants to get out of the usual 8 hours offline job and wishing I could fulfill a dream of enjoying my life just traveling and writing amazing stuff about my experiences. I know I am far from the real deal yet (still 2 weeks) but I am hoping I could taste that piece of the pie. Thanks a lot for the post.

  37. Totally enjoyed this post. As a new blogger I am still trying to figure out the insides! Honesty is definitely important for bloggers and I keep that in mind. Thanks for this info!
    -Robin
    Runwayteacher.com

  38. LOVED your post! I am new to the blogging world. I am wanting to do a lifestyle blog, but have only been blogging about travel. I have not been posting as often as I should. You have provided some wonderful tips!

    Dani.

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