11 Secrets To Becoming A Professional Travel Blogger

Professional Travel Blogger Tips

How to Become a Professional Travel Blogger

Blogging Tips

Want to become a professional travel blogger? Learn how to grow & improve your travel blog with my best tips after 5 years of professional blogging.

Continuing from my previous article about how to start a travel blog, it’s time to step it up a notch and share my best secrets for how to go from hobby blogging to becoming a professional travel blogger.

The word professional meaning you earn your living from it.

I’ve been running this adventure travel blog for 5 years now. For the first year it was mainly for fun, but then I began to take it more seriously. These days it’s my sole source of income — and I earn six figures a year.

There’s nothing wrong with blogging as a hobby. In fact that’s as far as most people get. But if my overflowing email inbox is any indication, many of you are dreaming of turning travel blogging into a job.

I’ll tell you right now that becoming a professional travel blogger is very difficult. More difficult than most people think. However this article is for those who are ready to attempt it anyway, regardless of the work involved.

Ready to get started? Then let’s do this!

Professional Travel Bloggers

What exactly is a professional travel blogger? Well anyone can start a blog and become a “blogger”. The barrier to entry is small, which has benefits and disadvantages. For example there are currently thousands of personal travel blogs online — so standing out from the crowd is tough.

However my definition is those who earn a good portion (or all) of their income from travel blogging are considered professionals. This list is MUCH smaller. If I had to guess, I’d say less than 100 people make decent money directly from their travel blogs.

Fortunately I happen to be one of them after years of trial & error attempting to turn my passion for travel into a business. Which is why I’ve decided to share some of my best secrets with you today.

My suggestions here are certainly not the only roadmap to building a successful travel blog, they just happen to work for me.

Travel Blog Audience

Build Your Audience

Building An Audience Is Key!

While I could go into the different ways travel bloggers make money, that’s not what this particular post is about. Everyone and their grandmother asks me how I make money from my travel blog, but the question they SHOULD be asking is how did I build an audience.

Because the hard truth is you’ll only earn income with your blog once you have a decent audience. Readers first, money later.

So today we’ll cover a few different techniques for building an engaged audience on your travel blog, as well as unique tactics for getting yourself noticed by companies looking to work with bloggers.

Travel Blog Tips

Travel Tips Can Work Well

1: Create Useful Content

Writing a diary of your travels for family & friends is easy, but other than them, no one else cares. If you want strangers to read your travel blog, you’ll need to provide something more useful.

Budget travel tips, food recommendations, details on what to do or where to stay, photography inspiration, video entertainment, beautiful flowing narrative, humor, etc.

Yes, you should always “follow your passion.” Otherwise you won’t enjoy what you’re doing. The key is to follow your passion while also providing something of value to your readers.

What are people searching for? It’s time to do some research. What questions related to travel are being asked in online forums, Reddit, and Quora?

If you already have readers, what are they asking in comments & emails? Give people what they’re asking for!

I received a bunch of questions about what GoPro accessories I travel with. So rather than waste time explaining it to each person individually, I wrote a huge article showcasing the best GoPro accessories for travel.

Turns out lots of people were looking for this information. The article gets shared a lot, and continues to receive steady search traffic.

Why? Because it’s useful! It’s answering a frequently asked question.

Even if you’re sharing an entertaining travel story, including useful tips about how readers can enjoy a similar experience will keep them coming back for more.

Travel Blogging Tips

Ok, Maybe Not This Crazy

2: Do Interesting Stuff

At face value it seems pretty basic. But when I say do interesting stuff, I mean do REALLY interesting stuff. Sensational, fascinating, or challenging stuff. The kind of stuff that gets noticed.

Writing about your drunken full moon party experience in Thailand? Maybe a 1 on the 0-10 awesomeness scale. Kayaking in Greenland? Walking across India? Camping in Antarctica? Vacationing in Yemen? Sailing the coast of Africa?

These activities are MUCH higher on the awesome scale, the topics are unique, and as a result they’re more likely to be shared with a larger audience.

Your whole blog doesn’t have to read like Buzzfeed, but make it a point to include some truly epic, original stories from time to time.

Guest Blog Posting

Share Stories On Other Blogs

3: Guest Posting

When you first start your travel blog, no one will know you exist. A good way to change that is to write guest posts on other popular blogs with large audiences, and siphon some of their readers over to you.

Not only will you reach a targeted audience, it also helps with your branding and credibility as an authority on travel.

However before you go pitching other blogs for guest posts, first check to make sure they even allow them. It helps to have some kind of relationship with the blogger too. Cold pitches to someone you’ve never even spoken with are less likely to work.

You can see examples of my own guest posts here, here, and here. All these articles sent me traffic I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise, introducing my adventure travel blog to new readers.

There’s also SEO power in backlinks from popular sites to yours.

My advice is to be picky, and guest post on blogs that you think will provide the best return on your investment in time. Because time is limited when you’re trying to become a professional blogger!

Professional Travel Blogger Tips

Social Media Tips

4: Rock Social Media

Staying active on social media is important if you want to earn your living from blogging. But it can be a huge time suck too. My advice is to be efficient with social media, don’t waste hours and hours there.

I generally jump on once in the morning to schedule posts for the day, then once more in the evening to respond to comments. It also pays to research the best times to post for each social network. You can find this info in your “insights” or “analytics” areas, or use third party tools.

For example, I’ve found that posting to Facebook at 5am & 7pm EST gives me the best results, while on Instagram, 7am & 5pm work better. What works for me may not work for you though. Always be testing.

Remember to be social on social media. That means actively responding to comments, and sharing other people’s content if you think your followers will enjoy it. Here are specific tips for each network based on my experience.

Facebook

1-2 posts per day, postcard type photos with short captions work best. Uploading 3 or 4 different images in one photo post and short video uploads to Facebook are also doing well. A few days after sharing on my fan page, I’ll share that post to my personal page too. Facebook doesn’t like 3rd party sharing apps, so don’t use them. Follow Me On Facebook!

Twitter

4-5 posts/updates per day, links shared along with a photo get better engagement. One hashtag only, or none. Schedule new blog posts to share 3-4 times each spread out through the month. Occasionally mention relevant companies/countries where appropriate, they may re-tweet it. Buffer Pro is my scheduling & tracking app of choice. Follow Me On Twitter!

Instagram

1-2 posts per day, spread out. Tag the location so others nearby can find your shots. Use hashtags sparingly, 4-5 in the first comment is good, including the country or city where it was taken. Longer descriptions work well on Instagram. Ask a question at the end to encourage engagement. For faster browsing & commenting on Instagram, I use Iconosquare from my laptop. Follow Me On Instagram!

Others…

There are other important social media platforms like Pinterest, YouTube, and SnapChat. However I’m still learning how to best utilize them, and don’t feel qualified to comment just yet. Which just goes to show you that becoming a professional travel blogger is a never-ending learning process.

Press and Media for Travel Bloggers

Get Yourself Some Press

5: Major Press Features

Yup, it’s time to become your own PR agent, and market yourself to the masses by securing features in major media outlets. If you think popular travel blogs have large audiences, it’s nothing compared to what major media outlets have. You can actively pitch your story rather than wait around for someone to notice you.

This is what I did to get featured on Mashable and The Weather Channel.

Here’s my secret formula, so you can do the same!

  • Spend time researching media outlets that sometimes publish travel features. Especially those featuring bloggers. Pay attention to the authors of those articles.
  • Connect with the authors on Twitter. Follow them. Add them to a public list. Share their articles with a mention/comment. Ask a question. Send a compliment. But don’t be annoying.
  • Put together a polished project/article/idea with mass appeal. Something that many people will find fascinating, as I discussed earlier (do interesting stuff).
  • Finally, pitch them your great idea a few months later. I sometimes sweeten the deal by explaining that I’ll be sending out a press-release soon, but wanted to give them the opportunity to cover it first.

Now that you’ve dedicated time developing a relationship with the writer, your chances are much higher that they’ll be interested in your pitch, landing you a feature on a major media website.

SEO for travel bloggers

SEO Black Magic

6: Art & Science Of SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is when you tweak your content to optimize it for search engines like Google. It seems to get a bad rap these days. Like it’s some kind of mysterious voodoo cheat tactic.

Here’s my take on it. If you write for traditional magazines, the writers who can master pitching to editors will get the best results. It’s not voodoo, it’s a relevant skill some people learn to get ahead.

Blogging and SEO are and always will be linked.

Don’t be scared of what you don’t understand. Instead, spend time learning how to master it for yourself. Or hire a professional to help out. Because like it or not, ensuring Google (and the world in general) can find your amazing content is a necessary part of building a successful website.

Useful Example

As an example of how I use SEO, let’s take a look at this particular article. The keyword I want to rank for is “professional travel blogger”. You’ll find that term in a few places here, like the URL, the title, the meta description, the first paragraph, a sub-heading, and at least 5 different times in the content.

I’ve named the lead photo using that keyword, along with its “alt” tag and caption. I’ve also linked back to this post from other pages on my site using the main keyword.

When you search for “professional travel blogger” (or whatever you want to rank for), Google shows related searches at the bottom of the page. Try to incorporate a few of these terms within your article as well.

Along with on-page SEO, building the authority of your site is also incredibly important. That means acquiring backlinks from other sites to yours through guest posting, major media features, high-profile mentions, etc.

SEO is a huge topic, but if you want to read more about it, I highly recommend studying everything you can find on the Moz.com blog.

Travel Blogging and Email

Email Lists are King

7: Build An Email List

Building an email subscriber list is one of the most important things you can do for your travel blog. Possibly more important than social media. The people who subscribe to your email list are your true fans & dedicated readers.

Why? Email is a much more personal experience. It also performs better than most social media at driving quality traffic to your site. While someone might receive thousands of social media updates in their feed each day, they may see less than 50 emails a day.

When you send subscribers something via email, they’re more likely to see it.

How do you build your mailing list? There are 2 main ingredients. Offer something of value, and make it easy. At the moment I offer a free travel photography ebook filled with my favorite images from around the world.

To make it easy, I use the email capture tools provided by SumoMe, as well as Aweber email newsletter list management.

Another tactic that’s been working well is offering great giveaways on the blog in exchange for readers signing up to my email newsletter through a service like Rafflecopter.

Travel Blogging Audience

Get In Front Of More People

8: Advertising

I spend money advertising on Facebook. I spend money advertising on Twitter. In fact I’ll do both for this article you are reading right now. I also pay for advertisements on other blogs.

By doing so, I’m not attracting “fake” readers. I’m paying to reach a large yet targeted audience. A percentage of them will discover my blog for the first time and become regular readers. Or if you sell products, become customers.

Magazines do it. Book publishers do it. Photographers do it. Hell, even non-profit organizations have an advertising/marketing budget. Of course if you’re just starting, you may not have the money now, but keep it in mind for the future. Targeted advertising exists for a reason — it works.

Treat your blog like a business if you want to make a living with it.

9: Professional Networking

To make a name for yourself in travel blogging, networking with others in person at conferences is pretty powerful. It’s an investment in time & money, but a worthwhile one.

When you meet potential business partners, colleagues, and clients in person, you’ll be at an advantage over those who don’t have that relationship. They’ll think of you over someone they’ve never met before.

Conferences I attend on a regular basis:

Social Travel Summit
Travel Blog Exchange

Others I’ve found helpful:

World Domination Summit
ITB Berlin

Online networking also has its benefits. Stay active in blogging groups, forums, and social media conversations. My favorite online travel blogging community is the private Facebook group for Travel Blog Success.

It’s the most positive & helpful group I’ve found dedicated to this industry.

Collaborations with other bloggers can expand your reach too. Maybe you noticed a few months ago I teamed up with Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad for projects in Iceland & Canada. This exposed my audience to her blog, and her audience to my blog, benefiting us both.

10: Hire Others To Help

Running a successful travel blog is like running your own magazine, but without any staff. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, let’s pretend you’re the owner & CEO of a publishing company.

Now imagine that you must also take on the roles of photographer, writer, editor, accountant, marketing team, graphic design, public relations, web development, videographer, finance, secretary, coffee intern, etc.

Get the picture? People go to school for years to master each of these jobs (ok, maybe not coffee intern) but you’re attempting to do them all!

As a professional travel blogger, you are responsible for everything — while also dealing with the stress & challenges of traveling to foreign countries. So when you start earning income, hire others to help you run your business.

It took me far too long to understand the importance of this, and after 4 years, I’m only now beginning to seek the help of others. A general virtual assistant to help with research, pitching, public relations, social media, and tracking campaigns. An accountant. A video editor. A writing editor.

Hiring others allows you to focus on the stuff you’re good at, while leaving the rest to those who are probably better than you anyway. To learn more about hiring a virtual assistant, read “Virtual Freedom” by Chris Ducker.

11: Personal Branding

An important key to success as a travel blogger, or any blogger for that matter, is standing out from the crowd. Branding is how you manage the way you’re presented to others. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, it’s better to focus on one or two areas of expertise.

What are you passionate about? What drives you?

When planning a new article/project, ask yourself, does it align with your brand? My own branding is based around adventure travel, so a majority of my articles are about this theme. Branding has differentiated me from other travel blogs, so when someone is looking to read or work with an adventure travel blogger, they are more likely to find me.

Maintaining a consistent identity across all your online channels and marketing helps drive your brand. Your logo, photography, social media accounts, and blog content should all reflect the values & mission of your brand.

When done right, you can own your demographic. Here are some examples of travel bloggers who’ve done an excellent job with their branding:

Everything Everywhere: UNESCO World Heritage
Legal Nomads: Food Travel
The Planet D: Adventure Travel for Couples
Adventurous Kate: Solo Female Travel
Nomadic Matt: Budget Travel
Wandering Earl: Long-Term Travel
YTravel Blog: Family Travel

Effective branding leads to a steady stream of readers searching for information on the topic you cover, recognition & influence, plus rewarding partnerships with companies wanting to tap into your demographic.

Reality Of Travel Blogging

Professional travel blogging is f*cking hard. If you think this job is just an extended vacation, you are very, very wrong. I hope this article helped showcase how much work is actually involved.

Otherwise you’ll be extremely disappointed a year from now after you’ve been blogging about your backpacking trip with little to no tangible results for your efforts.

Most travel blogs will be lucky if they last longer than a year.

Those who are in it for the long-haul, and are ready to take it seriously as a profession, have the best chance for success. Never mind that the advice listed here is just the tip of the iceberg!

That said, it’s still the best job I’ve ever had. ★

Travel Blogging Resources

If you truly want to become a professional travel blogger, my top recommendation is to pay for a course. It’s highly difficult to become professional in anything without specialized training of some sort. The same is true with blogging.

The two best courses about travel blogging out there today are:

These in-depth courses cover most of the topics I mentioned here & much more. Everything you need to learn about the business of travel blogging from people who are making it work.

I’ve learned new tricks from both, even after doing this stuff for years.

READ NEXT: This Is How I Get Paid To Travel

Any questions about becoming a professional travel blogger?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

THANKS FOR READING

Hi, I'm Matthew Karsten — I’ve been traveling around the world for over 5 years. Adventure travel & photography are my passions. Let me inspire you to travel more with crazy stories, photography, and useful tips from my travel adventures. Join thousands who receive exclusive email updates and click the green button below...

Comments & Questions

178 Comments

  1. viraj tharindu
    August 20, 2016

    Hi MATTHEW KARSTEN , amazing post i like your article and its very useful to me first i have to thanks you . i am a web designer and nowadays i am creating a professional blog for me but my question is how much money you are making with blog , is it possible ? what about your time management & travelling and blogging ?

    thanks
    viraj tharindu

    Reply
  2. Linda Aksomitis
    August 19, 2016

    Great article! I’ve added it as a resource for the students in my online course, Introduction to Internet Writing Markets. You’ve provided a great guide that’s readily applicable to blogging on any topic, so I know many of them will find it useful.

    Reply
  3. Bilal
    August 15, 2016

    Hey Mat, another wonderful Blog. You inspired me first in creating my own blog and this article is yet a next step… Thanks for sharing such tips

    Reply
  4. charlotte raepsaet
    August 11, 2016

    Great tips! We just started a blog and we can use this information very good. It’s nice that you share your experiences with us. Thanks you

    Reply
  5. Nomad
    August 11, 2016

    Great post! I am still figuring out how to do the SEO as it seems like a crucial part of building your blog.

    Reply
  6. AArti
    August 11, 2016

    Great advices for my blog! thanks for inspiring me!

    Reply
  7. Alan Sneider
    August 10, 2016

    Finally! One of these articles that actually helps!! Started my site back in May and have been researching how to grow an audience and get noticed, but nothing has been too helpful. Until now!

    Thanks for being so detailed and providing something step-by-step. It’ll take some time but now I have some places to start!

    Reply
  8. Melissa
    August 10, 2016

    Your always such an inspiration Matt! Your adventures are in part the reason why I started planning my “sell everything and go” plan. I have just a short amount of time left before I’m on the road for who freaking knows how long. Thanks for the article, loved the SEO info. it’s saved in my “travel Blogging God’s” folder now!

    Reply
  9. Alexiane
    August 7, 2016

    I want to thank you for your tips, i know it’s a hard work to do for what we see, i’m just “beginning” my blog but it always had been a big passion for me. I hope to hit my goal and one day join the best of travel blogging like you, wish you the best, and i’m always happy to read your articles. :)

    Reply
  10. travel4lifeblog
    August 7, 2016

    Great article Matthew! We are in the process of launching our travel blog! We agree it takes a lot of time but we are so excited about it at the same time. You are right if you are passionate about it it makes it easier! We love reading your articles and you always inspire us to follow our dreams :) Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Bridget
    August 5, 2016

    Thanks for writing such a clear article on this and explaining the terminology in a way this non-tech person can understand :). Very much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 9, 2016

      No problem Bridget. There is certainly a lot of new terminology to learn in the world of blogging.

      Reply
  12. Ana
    July 31, 2016

    Really awesome tips, thanks so much! It is hard work indeed, especially with a full time job. I’m trying to carve myself out as a ‘part time traveller’!

    Reply
  13. Lynn Yeo
    July 14, 2016

    Thanks so much for the insight Matt! I’m new to this whole travel blogging scene and its really waaay more difficult than I’ve imagined! Would love to meet you in person someday!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 9, 2016

      It sure is Lynn. But it also feels great to take charge of running your own online business — especially if you enjoy learning how to make it successful.

      Reply
  14. Duncan
    July 10, 2016

    So do you travel with a wifi hotspot or do you purely rely on finding wifi?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      July 13, 2016

      These days I buy a local sim card & pre-paid plan for my phone when I first arrive in a country.

      Reply
  15. Ashley
    July 4, 2016

    Sooo thanks for being the most helpful/informative person on the internet! You’re an inspiration, dude! Keep up the great work and keep doing awesome shit. :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 9, 2016

      Haha. You’re welcome Ashley! Glad you’re enjoying the articles.

      Reply
  16. Christy
    June 13, 2016

    Matthew;
    I literally JUST came up with the idea to start a travel blog yesterday. Not even thinking of earning anything off of it. My thought was to build a resume with it, to eventually write for magazines or have a travel show later on down the road. My degree is in Travel & Tourism, and I do a lot of road trips with my kids. And, have done a little (VERY little) travel outside the US with at least one of them in tow. So, for now, my blog would certainly be geared more toward traveling with children LOL. When I googled how to start a travel blog, this article was at the top of the list. Very helpful. At the moment, I’m still trying to figure out what the heck to CALL my blog :D In the last year my 3 younger kids (ages 9, 6 & 4, my oldest, 17 has stayed home or had other travels she’s done with others) and I have been on 5 road trips. 2 of those being short day trips, but the other 3 all being longer, with the longest being 13 hours one direction. All the traveling in the world, try locking yourself in a car with 3 kids for 13 hours and emerging with your sanity in tact. I think I have a lot to get started with, having traveled with kids since my oldest was only a few months old (taking her on a short interstate train trip). The next road trip on our agenda is next month, where we will be hitting UT & CO (we live in AZ). With plans to see lots of interesting stuff along the way. Thank you for posting how you got started in this venture. Who knows, maybe I’ll make a little $$ along the way on this venture. I already own my own business decorating cakes and planning parties, as well as a side business of re-doing furniture. But, have never found myself able to write about these things. I think I can write about travel though and the misadventures that accompany it when you have a troop of children to appease. One of which does NOT like hiking and only tolerates camping.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 10, 2016

      Hi Christy! Good luck with Utah & Colorado, both are beautiful states that would make some great travel blog posts that other traveling families could learn from. Remember to make your articles useful! Include plenty of nitty-gritty details to help them plan.

      Reply
  17. Rosaleen
    June 7, 2016

    Thanks mathew for your info and tips. I have been blogging for about a year now and you have made some great points especially on social media, I will look into these. please can you have a look at my website and give me some heads up on how to make it better. You can be brutal about it I don’t mind ! Thanks again.

    Reply
  18. Jessica
    June 3, 2016

    Hey, I loved your article and want to take blogging seriously, unfortunately, I am also very broke. I love the idea of connecting with a travel blog community as you mentioned with travel blog success but just can’t afford it. Do you know of any free communities, even just to make some friends trying to do the same?
    Thank you so much, Jessica

    Reply
  19. Anita Louis
    June 2, 2016

    Hi Matt. Greetings from Kuala Lumpur. I just started my blog about 2 weeks ago so its still in infancy stage. Thank you so much for the tips which i find very insightful. I’m passionate about travelling and I’m very serious about making this work. You actually helped me to get things into perspective. So I do hope I’ll be writing to you again in a year telling you I’m still here doing much better than today…haha. Thank you once again for this awesome post. Cheers!

    Reply
  20. Rena Iglehart
    June 1, 2016

    I have been on your blog for literally 3 plus hours. I have clicked on almost every link in every article and I just want you to know that you are the shit. This is by far the most informative blog ever. A travel blogger that tells other people how to be a travel blogger …how unselfish of you. You have basically given me everything I need to know. I am a wedding/event photographer that is transitioning to travel photography and I am beyond confident due to reading your blog. I hope to meet you in person and just say thank you.

    Reply
  21. Cory
    June 1, 2016

    Hi Matt, I’m at the beginning of my blogging career and I find this article useful and actually rather refreshing. Before I realised it takes over 30 hours a week to make a blog work, I read a lot of fluff on how great being a travel blogger is, or how it is as simple as 1-2-3. No! I’m realising there is a lot that goes into it: hard work to tailor the way your write for the right audience. Target the right people, write on your blog, but write for others too! Invest money, time, personal life, social life. Do this, do that! Buuuut, I know it will pay off eventually. Love from the UK.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      August 10, 2016

      Hey Cory! So true. It’s basically running your own magazine, and there is a lot of work that goes into that. But if you love the work, it doesn’t feel as much like work!

      Reply
  22. Mike
    May 23, 2016

    Great advice Matt! We’ve a long way till we get half way at your level but it’s so cool for bloggers to share tips openly like this! Love your site and travels!

    Reply
  23. Sheena
    May 10, 2016

    Thanks so much for this article, Matt! I finally understand why I’ve been struggling so hard to build a following and quality articles – because there’s really so much to consider! Your article has provided great food for thought and resources, and I hope it will continue to inspire all the aspiring travel bloggers to persist in their dream (:

    Reply
  24. Stephanie Snowden
    May 9, 2016

    I love my travels and am compiling information to share. I am new to this type of blogging and found your information helpful.Thank you for posting such detailed information. I will be using the tips in the near future.

    I am very excited!!!

    Reply
  25. Vishnu
    April 30, 2016

    Good info brother …. Thank you for providing this wonderful article about blogging

    Reply
  26. Mikaela
    April 26, 2016

    Great Article! and it worked on me ;) you just got yourself another subscriber to your monthly letters. I wanted the ebook ;)
    Your guest blogging worked, I am fairly certain that is how I came across your site (I’ve been on it a few times in the past few weeks)
    Love your work!

    Reply
  27. ana W
    April 3, 2016

    So much good information. Gives me the will to keep up for at least a year and see where it takes me. Building that audience is so crucial! Just gotta figure out how to go beyond storytelling and into useful information for the readers. Thank you Matt!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 30, 2016

      The key I think is getting yourself in front of larger audiences. An occasional “viral” or controversial type post can help. Or writing for a major media site.

      Reply
  28. Michelle van Rossenberg
    April 3, 2016

    This is very helpful, Matthew! Will be working on all of these points for the coming weeks. Thanks for sharing your secrets of success. I really love your brand. :)

    Reply
  29. MarkDeafMcGuire
    April 2, 2016

    Thanks for posting this. I am not sure how I ended up reading it. (I know I found it through Google but why I was looking in the first place? No clue.)

    But your point about social media and branding jumped out to me while reading this. Then I started reading the comments and your comment to Dag about picking a name that’s not specific to a “duo” travel bloggers.

    I know I plan to do travel posts but to call myself a travel blogger is exactly what you are saying. You are either a professional or not and I am not one. Rather it’s more of a feeling that traveling is part of my life, as opposed to my blogging life.

    Maybe someday but for now, I’m glad I picked my own name to brand myself with. You certainly force me to think of “writing” a story instead of blogging a post.

    Keep up the good work with your posts. I always enjoy them. Thanks again.

    Reply
  30. Dottie @Dots on a Map
    March 31, 2016

    Thank you! So helpful :)

    Reply
  31. Rachel
    March 26, 2016

    Hi Matt, Thank you for breaking the information down so concisely. It truly does take a lot of work to build up your blog, especially while you are traveling! We’ve been trying to master 1 social media channel at a time, before focusing on the next one. Sometimes you get so caught up in everything else, like SEO and social media, that you forget content is king!

    Reply
  32. DANITRI
    March 8, 2016

    Thank so much , its really helpful for the beginner blogger like me , how do you focus on writing a post

    Reply
  33. Fredelinda
    March 6, 2016

    Great and useful article. Bookmarked!

    Reply
  34. Lexi
    March 4, 2016

    This article was so helpful! We just made it to the one year of blogging mark and based on your advice we’re going to start guest posting to help get our name out there more.

    Reply
  35. Shivi
    February 26, 2016

    Wow, it as indeed the most stunning read so far, I have started my blog recently, for couple of years writing was just a hobby now took it as a profession , reading your blog helped me though. Love it.

    Reply
  36. Sarah
    February 24, 2016

    Thanks for this article! So many good resources in it. I especially appreciate your explanation of SEO. I have read so many different explanations of how to really work with SEO but none of them felt like they really clicked with me, but your explanation I think has finally made sense. That is gold! Much appreciated!

    Reply
  37. Emma Donachie
    February 17, 2016

    Thank you for the information. I really enjoyed your bit on SEO. I recently started a blog to talk about my move to Hawaii to become an organic farmer. I am in the process of personal branding and finding my stride. Thank you for the great advice!

    Reply
  38. Johnf1
    February 7, 2016

    Valuable information. Fortunate me I discovered your site by chance, and I am surprised why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

    Reply
  39. Clem
    February 6, 2016

    Thanks for the reply Matt! I will give it a go, nothing to lose haha. I will probably join TBS to get some tips. And loved your photos on instagram

    Reply
  40. Clem
    February 2, 2016

    Hi Matthew, glad I stumbled across this site. Love your articles and it makes me think a lot whether this is something I want to go into. I currently have a full time job but passionate about all things Japan and try to get there once a year to explore the whole country. My question is whether I should even start a travel blog when I am not even travelling? thanks again and keep up the great work on your blog!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 5, 2016

      Hi Clem! I started my travel blog before I actually left on my trip, just don’t expect it to attract tons of people if you’re not traveling yet. However, maybe you can begin by writing about past trips? Or things to do near where you live?

      It’s a good exercise for learning the ropes. Think of it as practice.

      Reply
      • Kyle
        June 19, 2016

        Interesting to hear that you started your blog before you left – maybe we’re not crazy after all!

        Clem – we are currently posting blogs on previous trips away and on things based around planning our trip. We find it makes us do more research in the first place, but even if we never make anything out of the blog other than having somewhere that we hold all our travel memories, we’ll be happy.

        Good luck with your ideas, be great to hear how you’re doing.

        Reply
  41. Sally
    January 29, 2016

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for the very informative article, Ive taken tonnes of notes and hopefully I can really start to promote our new blog (my partner and I have just set it up this month and I really want to take it seriously as a love travel). Youre right about it being very hard, weve already spent countless hours creating the site and content etc. (I felt like an alien trying to work wordpress at first), but Im hoping after reading the article I can use my time more productively and get the site going. Thanks again

    Sally

    Reply
  42. Victoria
    January 26, 2016

    Thanks for the great tips Matthew! I can’t wait to try some of them as I start my own travel blog! I have already set up my social media sites and am always looking for more unique ways to promote my blog!

    Reply
  43. Pericles Rosa
    January 25, 2016

    Hi Matthew. Thx of this article bro :)
    It has been my guideline. Just leached my blog on the 17.
    I emailed you but not sure if you got it.
    Which plugin are you using for Read Next?
    Thx

    Reply
  44. Jonny
    January 20, 2016

    Really useful post Matt, thanks for the tips! I’m relatively new to travel blogging (less under 6 months) and the nature of what I’m doing means I’ve only got a few posts published so far – time to find some more relevant content to create to keep me going! Cheers

    Reply
  45. Mister Brazil
    January 20, 2016

    Wow,

    Very nice information. I just leaned a lot in one post and its great, saves time and directly to the point. Good sources, links, well explained. Muito bom!
    Sincerarly, thank you very much
    Tchau from Mister Brazil

    Reply
  46. Chanel Piccione
    January 20, 2016

    This was such an informative article! Thank you for sharing!
    I am extremely keen to start a travel blog. I have been given the opportunity to join my boyfriend in Japan whilst he does his upgrade training for NCA and I get to travel Japan for the 6 months I am there :)
    Thereafter I would meet him around the globe – hopefully this will bring enough content to have an interesting blog!
    Thanks for the tips!

    Reply
  47. Maria
    January 18, 2016

    I have no idea how to create a blog at all but I’m a good writer / teach it. Tired of teaching it and want to do it . Do you build blogs ? I’d want to start part time first as I can travel four times a year (I guess it comes to 3 months ) while still teaching but god it’s my dream to say goodbye to my desk and New York City . Should the design be professionally done because I’m not tech savvy yet. :)

    Reply
  48. Cathy Ries
    January 17, 2016

    This was by far one of the MOST useful articles I’ve read on blogging. Honestly, thank you for sharing. I started my travel blog a little over a year ago and can relate to how challenging it can really be and how most outsiders see it as an extended, forever vacation. Thanks for all the tips! I’m still new at this and learning everyday. This added more to the list of things to consider but is also great guidance. So thanks!!!

    Reply
  49. Stephanie
    January 16, 2016

    Having done a ton of research on professional travel blogging the past few months (started my own just a couple of months ago), I’ve come across a lot of articles on how to start travel blogs / how to hack it as a pro travel blogger, but your articles have become my repeat go-to’s (especially this one and “How to Start a Travel Blog”). Really appreciate how you deliver your content in actionable steps/ categories – truly motivating, easy to digest and informative. Most of all, it makes the dream of becoming a full-time digital nomad seem all the more doable. Thank you for the continued inspiration, Matthew!

    Reply
  50. Lavina Dsouza
    January 7, 2016

    I love your blog.. You have shared here amazing information…. I am also a blogger. I travel all around the world and shared my experienced at my travel blog.

    Reply
  51. Adrenaline Romance
    January 2, 2016

    Amazing and useful tips! This will be very useful for us as we have just started to monetize our blog.

    Reply
  52. Ed Puno
    December 29, 2015

    Thanks for sharing this. This is very informative and will really be of help to those who are aspiring pro travel bloggers! More power Matt!

    Reply
  53. Pooja Sehra
    December 28, 2015

    First of all, I must say that you have got one helluva blog out there.. and it highly reflects with your photography skills as well as blends in with perfectly with your blogging or let’s say writing skills..

    Traveling the world and making a living out of it has always been in my mind. However, after just visiting your blog, it inspires me to take it the way you have done at ExpertVagabond.

    Kudus to you.. Keep up the good work and keep us motivated…

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      February 24, 2016

      Thanks Pooja! Glad you’re enjoying the site. I think that’s the key, creating something that’s both useful & motivating.

      Reply
  54. Matt
    December 15, 2015

    Great tips as always! I think hiring an assistant is the easiest path to success. Thanks Matt!

    Reply
  55. Lotte
    December 11, 2015

    Thank you so much for this great article and practical, actionable advice! Really, really useful:-) Happy travels! Lotte

    Reply
  56. Megan
    December 3, 2015

    Hello, I found that your blog is inspiring :)
    I just started my Chinese travelling blog in November and feel so lost as I am too green writing the blogs.
    I know it takes time to build from the beginning but I am always afraid of doing it wrong or not building it in a right way. As I met one travel blogger in my travelling trip, she has been doing her blog over 5 years but still not really successful.

    Reply
  57. dag
    November 27, 2015

    Hey Matt, I was wondering if its possible to do this with another person using one single travel blog. thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      November 27, 2015

      For sure! Just be aware that one of you might decide to quit later on. So I’d pick a name that isn’t specific to both of you.

      Reply
  58. Tom Hunt
    November 20, 2015

    Matt, you’re really something else! fantastic article, it’s like almost all people out here are indicating the same. Love the flow of your content, you’ve mixed a lot of elements and added some humuour on it which makes it lively. I am also starting out on this new venture and wish to stay longer on this vagabond lifestyle. Just now, you’ve inspired to do something and act on it.

    Will definitely watch out for your next posts. Cheers!

    Reply
  59. Angelica Urbas
    November 20, 2015

    Clearly, for being a successful travel blogger and earn properly you need to follow these crucial points. Thanks Matthew for all of it. Glad to hear more from you.

    Reply
  60. Beatrice - Mademoiselle Nomad
    November 4, 2015

    Matthew – hats off for taking the time to share your valuable tips about building an audience. Often, we can get so caught up in how to make money from blogging that we forget the basics. Good to see what are the tips you used and how it can help the rest of us. Definitely a page I’ve bookmarked to read over and over again :)

    Reply
  61. Don
    November 3, 2015

    Great article with a ton of tips.The advice here can be used in almost any type of blog and not just travel blogs. Keeping this one bookmarked as I build my new blog. thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  62. Andrew Rupp
    October 28, 2015

    Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to create this. It is great that people like you are trying to help other travel blogger (ME!) out on their endeavors. Keep up the amazing work.

    Reply
  63. Dana Williamson
    October 21, 2015

    I have been reading through a whole bunch of posts lately but this definitely stands out and is very insightful!

    Similarly to many people who have commented I have recently launched my blog and have a long way to go. In fact I have actually picked up my first paid blogging job for a major tour company so i am hoping that all goes well and be the beginning of a successful career in travel blogging!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts and have already linked this post to my Dad who has also recently started his own blog so thankyou again from both of us!

    Reply
  64. TheGamblingTraveller
    October 18, 2015

    Hey,
    Great info. I am literally at the start of my travel blogging journey and am literally just jumping into it. I have a vague plan of how I wish to portray myself and my blog, but even at the basic level there is so much to consider – hence why I am doing it one step at a time and trying not to rush it.

    Thanks, and will drop by regularly!!
    Matt (another travelling Matt)

    Reply
  65. Windy Rainie Mustikanthena
    October 15, 2015

    I really excited to do some of your suggestion !!
    Have you visit Indonesia yet?
    We had a lot of beautiful places here !!

    Warm Hugs,
    WRM

    Reply
  66. citra pandiangan
    October 14, 2015

    wow this article is nice, thanks for share

    Reply
  67. Angelo The Explorer
    October 8, 2015

    I will have a talk about travel blogging to new bloggers this weekend and this helped me a lot. Thank you so much for great ideas!

    Reply
  68. Nimu Isabel
    October 2, 2015

    Hi Matthew,
    Fantastic article. I have learnt so much from the pointers you have given. It came at the right time because I am currently looking to improve on my travel blog, which is less than a year old. Thank you so much for this. I need no further convincing to subscribe to your blog.

    Reply
  69. Jessica R. Benford
    October 2, 2015

    Great tips Matt! My background is a bit different as I am a Marine Biologist – I work 8 months and travel 4 months (in between projects) during the year. I started driving around the world in my Jeep a year ago, a world tour that I call “The Voyage of Discovery.” Your adventure blog really pulled me in when I stumbled upon it, and has given me a lot of solid advice on how to improve my blog (thank you for that). I am currently working in Colombia offshore researching whales and dolphins, and during my off time, I find myself skimming through a great portion of your content that you have posted over the years.

    I am definitely not in the category of a “professional travel blogger” yet, but I absorbed some great information from my favorite travel bloggers (ones that you had mentioned in this post) and yourself. From one adventurer to the other, thank you for shedding more light on the work behind travel blogging. You are right, it is f*ckin hard! I am still getting my feet wet (figuratively and literally!)! The goal-driven mentality and dedication, I believe will definitely set you apart from the rest. Thanks again for giving me the best advice – “building an audience is key!” Hope to cross paths one day! Until then looking forward for more adventures! :)

    Reply
  70. Laura
    October 1, 2015

    Oh wow Matthew… I loved this explanation. I wasn’t really looking for how to make money of my blog, but I was looking for a blogger who enjoys his lifestyle and you pop up ☺️. You are a good example for ‘living the dream’. I am on that path too, but still need to learn more in the “blogworld”! Thank you for the wonderful tips. Have a great day!

    Reply
  71. Danielle
    September 12, 2015

    Great information! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  72. Anca | Globaloud
    September 3, 2015

    Every time I’m trying to find something useful for my blog I stumble on your blog. There are a lot great advises in this post and I would definitely consider Facebook advertising cause I think it’s a great value for money.
    Also I must say I’m pretty impressed with your Audience Overview – those numbers are really mind blowing.
    Keep up a good work and thanks for sharing this post.
    Anca

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 11, 2015

      Thanks Anca! Keep in mind that it’s taken me almost 5 years to get those numbers.

      Reply
  73. Monica Nastase
    August 27, 2015

    Useful advice here, Matt, thank you! But I have a novice question: if one wants to get published in travel media, I assume one doesn’t publish on their own blog the most interesting stories. From my research of peer travel bloggers’ sites, I noticed they don’t have the most interesting travel stories in there. So how do you publish interesting enough content on your blog (to gather a massive audience) *and* have great pitch ideas for travel media? Would be great if I could get your insight on this. Thanks a lot! Monica

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 11, 2015

      If you want to write for other sites, one good way is to cover the same trip from a different angle. In fact many writers do this. You can turn one weekend trip into 3 different articles.

      Personally, I think in the long run it’s better if you publish your most interesting stuff on your own site.

      Reply
      • Monica Nastase
        September 11, 2015

        Thanks a lot for your input, Matthew! I had the same hunch, that my best content better stay ‘in-house’. I’ll work on the other part. Thanks!

        Reply
  74. Travel Guide Guru
    August 19, 2015

    I’m only getting my feet wet in the travel blogosphere but I have to say that I’ve been really impressed with how supportive bigger writers are of us smaller fish. I appreciate you taking the time to make this post, there’s a lot of strategy I’ll try to use from here to get my name out there. Cheers!

    Reply
  75. WeiLe Ng
    August 17, 2015

    Thanks for writing this post and that I could find it in the internet. It inspired me a lot, at least i will always come back and read this to remind me not to give up and bring me back to the right track. Thank you very much.

    WeiLe

    Reply
  76. Farrel
    August 16, 2015

    Hi Matthew! I’m a new travel blogger and thanks for the useful information & advice. I hope I can make money from my blog too! :)

    Reply
  77. Anna N.
    August 4, 2015

    Thanks for putting this article together! All your points had a lot of value that I can learn from. The one about Guest Posting and Making Relevant Content was key for me. My boyfriend and I just launched out travel site 6 months ago and figuring out what are the best ways to build that audience. It’s essential for monetization. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  78. Christie Hamilton
    August 1, 2015

    Excellent read. Sharing this takes time away from the actual touring and gaining experiences part and so it is great of you. I really like the links to your social media also ?

    Reply
  79. Magda
    July 13, 2015

    Awesome post, Matt! Thanks for the great advice on mailing lists and search engine optimization. Now I’m just waiting for the next 30% off promotion on TBS!

    Reply
  80. Savannah Grace
    July 5, 2015

    GREAT post! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  81. Anna
    July 2, 2015

    Thanks a bunch for all these tips. i do hope someday my blog would catch eyes from a lot of readers. I still have a lot to learn about travel blogging. kudos!

    Reply
  82. Nate
    June 18, 2015

    You’re a ROCK STAR Matthew! Living the life my man :-)

    Reply
  83. Ray Banks
    June 17, 2015

    Thanks for the article! I’ve been travel blogging for about 3 years (on a personal blog) but just in the last month I finally decided I should be sharing travel tips because I’ve been traveling so much for super cheap my whole life. Hope to get to a good level in the next few years!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 11, 2015

      Nice! Yeah at 3 years, you have tons more experience than the average person about travel. Share it with them on a blog.

      Reply
  84. bhebs
    June 13, 2015

    Thanks for sharing Matt. It’s really helpful for those who just start travel blogging like me. I love traveling and that triggers me to launch a travel blog just last month. Well, it’s just for part-time for the meantime. I am still exploring and learning about blogging stuffs and your tips are exactly what I need. Thank you so much!…

    Reply
  85. Sasha
    May 28, 2015

    When you decided that this was your path was it an obsession? It is mine for sure. I’m at the beginning of this journey, trying to make this work as a four person family is really going to take a long runway…But, i’m prepared to make this our life, for the future of my children. Thanks for all the info!

    Reply
    • Jon
      August 2, 2015

      Hi Sasha, maybe YTravel Blog: Family Travel that Matt recommends at the bottom of this article would prove your best guidance?

      Reply
  86. Frank
    May 18, 2015

    Great post, thank you for sharing all this Matt. I especially appreciate the advice on the technical stuff. I got into blogging because I like writing and photography, some of the other stuff more like work :( . Social media is, as you say, can be a major time suck. I remember when I started having no idea how to allocate my time to it all and feeling like I was spinning my wheels. I ended up deciding to do what I like best: working on my own content. In many ways I think it was time best spent as I get about 80% of my traffic through google now. I still suck at social media but started this year getting into Pinterest and I’ve gotten good traffic there (I actually think its the most shareable of the mediums).
    Thanks again, I’ll be back a few times trying to understand all this stuff.
    Frank (bbqboy)

    Reply
  87. Lissa
    May 17, 2015

    Thank you for your post. I just started a blog in December 2014, and didn’t start writing much until February 2015. I work on my blog all the time, but don’t really have much direction. I’m new at this… I think your input is so much help. I think sometimes people need that little push to keep moving forward. I appreciate all of your advise. I think I will look more into guest blogging, and also look into social media, advertising, and networking. Your advice is priceless and I thank you for it.

    Reply
  88. Anitrice
    May 14, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your insights to being a Travel Blogger! This information was extremely helpful and most importantly transparent (i.e. seemingly full disclosure). Although I am currently just sharing my travels just to give folks a different view of traveling (I travel because I enjoy travel and have long recognized it’s impact on my inner being), ultimately to transition into a place where sharing and blogging about my journeys could earn some income would merely be a plus. Your site, however is a great blueprint to follow! Thank you!

    Reply
  89. Dana
    May 7, 2015

    Appreciated the detailed, actionable tasks of the article. One question: as a beginner blogger, how do you recommend I balance the cost of “investing” in the blog with the “return” of followers? Is there a list of your top priorities when starting out (ex. email service, advertising, promotion, web developer, free giveaway subscriptions)?

    Reply
  90. Victoria
    May 4, 2015

    Lovely thought-provoking post that grabbed my attention, especially with the coconut LOL! It was great to hear your words of wisdom at TBEX as I had heard of you but it’s so much nicer to actually see if you a real person rather than hitchbot the travelling robot LOL!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      May 5, 2015

      You can’t be a proper travel blogger unless you work from the beach drinking a coconut… nice to meet you at TBEX Victoria!

      Reply
  91. Jay Zee
    April 28, 2015

    Thank you for your refreshing take on this subject, compared to the boiler plates found elsewhere on the web :) I’ve just started sharing my own travel stories and photos and I feel this gives me a starting advantage :)

    Reply
  92. Suze The Luxury Columnist
    April 27, 2015

    This is perhaps the most useful blog post that I have read on the subject, your professionalism shines through, Matt!

    I agree with doing interesting things and building up your audience for a long time before you try to make a living from travel blogging

    Reply
  93. Justin Greak
    April 22, 2015

    Hey Matthew,
    Thanks so much for the helpful info – your blog is actually what has inspired me to start my own travel blog, and this post has really helped me figure out some of the ins and outs of getting noticed. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  94. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy
    April 21, 2015

    Nicely done, Matt. When I saw the title, I thought it would be just like many other articles I’ve read on the subject. But this is one of the best I’ve seen… accurate and thorough, yet succinct enough to make it readable.

    Reply
  95. Sonja Pound
    April 20, 2015

    Hi Matt,
    Great information! I just started writing about luxury travel from a customer service perspective. It is fun – love the writing, configuring blog… but certainly takes time. Thanks for all of the tips.

    Reply
  96. Sandra
    April 20, 2015

    Thank you for an honest post from a “tough love” point of view. It really is hard work and I don’t think most people realize that. I agree it’s more about building (your brand, your business, your presence) than simple growth. Those who give up easily don’t seem to see this side of things. People confuse success with simply growing numbers, without any foundation. But you already know that! :)

    Reply
  97. Sheri
    April 20, 2015

    Hi Matthew, Do you have much success with rafflecopter? I am just launching my fist blog and was wondering if the cost of $84 a month for the email signup option is worth it. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 20, 2015

      Yeah it’s a bit pricey. What I’ll do is lump a few giveaways together in one month to make it worthwhile, then cancel the premium account until I’m ready to do a few more.

      Reply
      • Sheri Kowalski
        April 22, 2015

        Good idea! Love your blog by the way. I’m embarking on my first solo trip around the world next month for a year. So your site has been full of good information for me. Thanks!

        Reply
  98. Dave Brett
    April 20, 2015

    I like the idea of reaching out to news outlets outside of travel blogging, great tip, I can see this being popular if your story is fresh and interesting enough to cover. Worth giving a try for big future wow trips like you mentioned. Also a great tip to co-work with other bloggers to cross shift audiences, that’s another great way of building a further following. Cheers Matt for the write up, both spot on and helpful!

    Reply
  99. Simone
    April 20, 2015

    What a great post! Realistic, well written & full of useful advice! I feel like I have already taken at least 10 things away from this post from just my first read of it! Thank you for helping all us amateur travel bloggers! Very inspirational, please keep it up!

    Reply
  100. Howard @ Backroad Planet
    April 19, 2015

    Hi Matthew! I just completed a skim of this post and I am bookmarking it and pinning it for posterity, meaning I am going to read every word slowly and carefully so I can digest the wealth of information you have provided your less-experienced colleagues. Excited to follow you and your adventures!

    Reply
  101. Sally
    April 19, 2015

    A lot to get my head around, Thank you for all the info. I have been blogging for just over 4 months now and I am addicted. I am trying to grow my readers while mastering SEO and social media at the moment haha. And i already need a laptop upgrade grrrrr!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      September 11, 2015

      Haha. I feel your pain Sally! There is always something new to learn. Even for me.

      Reply
  102. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com
    April 19, 2015

    I was asked once to write a post similar to this, but I declined. At the moment, I don’t consider myself a professional travel blogger, primarily because I don’t enough from my blog to let go of my day job as a freelance editor. Someday, maybe. :)

    Reply
  103. Aaron
    April 18, 2015

    Thanks Matt for a great insight into the world of travel blogging. The point that really resonated with me was the “audience first, money later” point. This has definitely changed my outlook and I am going to really concentrate on building up my following now and not worry too much about money early on in the piece. Thanks.

    Reply
  104. Jen Seligmann
    April 18, 2015

    Very useful read Matt. Thanks for sharing your expert experience. I’m wondering about hiring someone to help me with SEO. I have a few posts that rank number one for there keywords but I really don’t know how it happened and how to keep doing it for most of my posts. There are so many companies out there that claim to be able to get you to number one on Google but how do I know who to trust? Do you have any trusted recommendations?

    Reply
  105. Hugh Hamilton
    April 17, 2015

    Thanks for this Mathew. Very detailed, honest and informative. My wee blog is a hobby at the moment but I’m glad of tips to get more readership. A lot more to this blogging malarkey than writing a blog, that’s for sure. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      Yup, maintaining a travel blog is a big undertaking! There’s a lot to learn, in fact I’m still learning new things about this business every day even after 4 years.

      Reply
  106. Andy @ Travelling Type
    April 17, 2015

    Thanks for the great tips Matthew. Invaluable stuff. I haven’t been hashtagging in the first comment on Instagram, just straight after my intro. Why is it you do that by the way? Also, this sentence is (at least for me) one of the most useful I’ve read on the subject – “The key is to follow your passion while also providing something of value to your readers.”

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      When you put most of the hashtags in the 1st comment rather than the photo description, it just keeps everything nice & neat looking. No blue links distracting people from the photo.

      The hashtags will also get buried after a few more comments, so they’ll still help people find your photos through search, but aren’t in your face, and it looks less spammy.

      Reply
  107. Amber
    April 17, 2015

    Are you currently hiring for the position of coffee intern for Expert Vagabond? If so, I will send you my CV. As a recovering tax attorney and food travel blogger, I may be overqualified, but I am willing to learn the skills to support your blog ;)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      If you can beam me over a double espresso Star Trek style, you’re hired Amber!

      Reply
  108. Ursula Petula Barzey
    April 17, 2015

    Thanks for the writing this post and in general sharing your journey so far. Very helpful and inspiring. Also love the tips! That said, you mentioned your monthly income — nice! Just wondering if you would be comfortable sharing how this breaks down by service offering? So in a typical month, average percentage from say sponsored content, social media campaigns, banner/affiliate links, etc.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      If I break it down, it averages out to something like this:

      55% Brand Partnerships
      25% Affiliates
      10% Blogger Advertising
      10% Freelance Writing/Photography

      However most brand partnerships also include freelance writing/photography as part of the deal, so there’s some overlap.

      Reply
  109. Yok
    April 17, 2015

    Sawadii Kha Matt:

    So you have left Thailand for Philippines!!! Recharge your tattoo and check out?

    Your post is insightful, and the section on SEO in particular I find practical. This is a business skill and simply because one person might better than another is in my view not a good argument for bad rap.

    Keep rockin’!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      Yup! Tattoo all recharged. But I’m actually back in Bangkok for a night, then off to the Social Travel Summit in Germany (mentioned earlier in this post). Need to follow my own advice and do some networking!

      Reply
      • Yok
        April 19, 2015

        I was camping in Prachuap Kirikan otherwise I would invite you for a coffee and to introduce you to some new Thai friends.

        Next time you are in the neighborhood let me know. If I am in town, the invitation stands!

        Reply
  110. Marc
    April 17, 2015

    Nice post.thanks for sharing. I’m doing the same type of traveling and I appreciate a lot these types of info.

    Reply
  111. Rebecca
    April 16, 2015

    This gave me a ton to think about…not sure exactly if I’m a travel blogger…exactly…but this is totally useful for much of what I do. Now if I could only set just a few times a day to do social media…sigh. I’d have so much time!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      Social media is a necessary evil. It sometimes helps to just log out of everything once I’ve scheduled my posts for the day. That way I’m not tempted to waste too much time there. Actually, the app Rescue Time can help with that, refusing to allow you on sites like Facebook during certain hours of the day.

      Reply
  112. Mariellen Ward
    April 16, 2015

    Hi Matt! I already have your post “How I get paid to travel the world” on the blog post i just published about becoming a professional travel blogger. Now I’ll add this one, too, to my long list of resources. Well done.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      Thanks Mariellen! I’ll be adding a similar list here too, including your post.

      Reply
  113. Matthew
    April 16, 2015

    Dude great content I shared it in my FB page.

    Reply
  114. Chris Backe
    April 16, 2015

    About agents… How did you go about finding one? I’ll presume they have their own vetting process to ensure it’s a worthwhile use of their time as well, but where to *start* looking for them?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 17, 2015

      Networking at travel conferences. Generally it’s them who will reach out to you.

      Reply
  115. Kirsten
    April 16, 2015

    Great post Matthew. I’ve been thinking about joining Travel Blog Success for a while. My main challenge is balancing roles and finding the energy to invest more time, but I am working on that and having access to the course will hopefully provide me with some more focus as well as new strategies to improve my game :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      I’m a huge fan of the TBS course & community. They’re always improving it too, like with regular webinars featuring experts on particular topics. SEO, brand partnerships, Instagram, etc.

      Reply
  116. Ashley
    April 16, 2015

    For real though, thank you for advice that is unique! This might be the most perfect blog article ever written. Now to find a coffee intern…

    Reply
  117. Miriam of Adventurous Miriam
    April 16, 2015

    Matt, this is one of the best articles I’ve seen on this subject. I was so happy to learn that it was about building an engaged audience and not just “how to make money with your blog”. This is why you are one of my favorite bloggers and my aspiration. Thank you for that.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      I think too many new travel bloggers focus on making money before they even have an audience. It just doesn’t work like that. Companies pay you for access to your audience. If you don’t have one, they’re not gonna pay! :-)

      It’s like that famous “Field Of Dreams” quote.

      If you build it (an audience), they will come (brands with budgets).

      Reply
  118. Marek
    April 16, 2015

    Great tips. I think the main issue people underestimate is that it takes at least a year to achieve a meaningful audience. Many blogs fizzle out simply because people’s life priorities change and they no longer are as passionate about travel as they once were, or they’re simply discouraged by the uphill battle of establishing a blog. If you want to be a professional travel blogger you have to be willing to go beyond the initial whim and really follow it through. This can be easier said than done! But once you’re over that initial very difficult bump, things become much easier.

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      Completely agree Marek, things get easier the longer you’ve been blogging. That’s why most of the professional travel bloggers who earn a decent living have generally been working at it the longest too.

      Reply
  119. Dale @ Elizabeth and Dale Abroad
    April 16, 2015

    Great article Matt. Since we started we have treated our blog like a business. I think sometimes it is difficult for people to do this with what is (and should be) their passion.

    As you mention, it is a lot of work to try and run a blog professionally. I think that time management can be a huge part of being successful in blogging (and in any other business endeavour). Using automation like Buffer, Hootsuite, etc and an editorial calendar can really help keep you on track. Like you say, a blogger wears many hats and they can’t afford to spend a disproportionate amount of time on any particular one. Social media can definitely be a time suck if you allow it! One really needs to be judicious with their time – and outsource as soon as possible.

    Thanks again the great content and advice.

    Cheers!

    Dale Hampton

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      Outsourcing certain tasks is something I wish I’d started doing earlier. Trying to do everything (superhero syndrome) will eventually burn you out!

      Reply
  120. Josh
    April 16, 2015

    Travel blogging combines two of my life’s biggest passions: travel, and writing, and I’m currently in the planning stages of a trip that I hope to last a year or more. My question is about content. Do you wait a few months into your travels before posting your blog so that you have more content? Do you post as you go? How do you start with good content early instead of just one or two pages of stuff?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      My content is all over the place. I’m about to post a story from Israel that happened almost a year ago. Sometimes I’ll get articles up quickly, other times stories sit for months. Generally I try to keep my social media updates current, but my blog articles go up whenever I get around to them. As long as you’re posting regularly, I don’t think readers mind too much.

      Reply
  121. Zascha
    April 16, 2015

    Great article. Just what I needed actually. I’m still a newbie trying to find my way around, and you’re right, it’s not easy at all!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 18, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed it Zascha, and good luck with your travel blog!

      Reply
  122. Dan Corcoran
    April 16, 2015

    Great post, it’s certainly true that you need to wear many hats as a travel blogger.

    We are always looking to feature travel bloggers on our site. Please get in touch if you are keen.

    Reply
  123. Will Bowie
    April 16, 2015

    Excellent post Matt – Very helpful and insightful to a newbie travel blogger. There is much to learn. I’m in my second week and there’s plenty of challenges and trial and error!
    SEO is what I find to be the biggest mystery. I get plenty of shares but no leads from search engines.

    Reply
  124. Jay
    April 16, 2015

    I recently launched a travel blog with my boyfriend and have been looking for a resource like this. I know that you are the exception, not the norm, but it’s great to hear about travel bloggers who are successful. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  125. Hannah @GettingStamped
    April 15, 2015

    GREAT article Matt! We haven been blogging for 2.5 years and been on the road 2 years. We are hoping to continue, your tips are very helpful. Thanks again.

    Reply
  126. Kristin M
    April 15, 2015

    Thanks for posting this. This is EXACTLY what I need right now. I just launched my blog and now need to focus on content. There is just so much other stuff to worry about I keep getting distracted. That’s my biggest problem right now. How do you shut off all the distractions and just focus on writing a post?

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 15, 2015

      I still get overwhelmed & distracted writing posts. For me, logging out of all my social media accounts, or even shutting down the WiFi helps. So does classical music. I also try to have a “commute” of some kind, like heading out to a cafe rather than working from my place.

      Reply
  127. Abby Drapes
    April 15, 2015

    I can’t believe your favorite job isn’t fried chicken and pizza chef at Golden Pond. Or child welfare assistant aka summer camp counselor. Or kayak rental engineer at Ski Fanatics. I mean, you got to work with ME and come home after a hard day covered in mud, stale beer, and smelling like tuna. Perhaps you should edit your statement to include *except my minimum wage positions where I got PAID to hang out with the AWESOMELY INSPIRING Abby Drapes. Just a thought… People want the TRUTH. :)

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 15, 2015

      All valid points Ms. Drapes. My position as kayak rental engineer just barely missed the #1 spot. However I can re-live those stale beer & tuna river adventures in a few weeks!

      Reply
  128. Vicky and Buddy
    April 15, 2015

    Hi Matthew! Thank you so much for all of the great tips! I’m a new blogger and this post is so helpful. I’m adding it to my Favorites! :)

    Reply
  129. Joel Campbell
    April 15, 2015

    What a great article, Matt. I really enjoy your candid approach to helping others succeed in travel blogging. My wife and I started our travel site back in November and have seen growing success by following your (and other) suggestions.

    Let’s meet up somewhere amazing in the future and write an article on the benefits of travel debauchery!

    Reply
  130. Laura
    April 15, 2015

    I’ve been blogging for only two months and indeed, it’s pretty hard! So much stuff to handle, but I truly believe that is going to pay off sooner or later. I just copy-pasted all your tips in Word and I hope to start tweaking my site ASAP. Thank you for this amazing post!

    Reply
  131. Cristina
    April 15, 2015

    Thanks so much for this article, Matthew. I really need to work on SEO, I should probably take a week off to work just on that! (and then I should probably work harder at building a mailing list)
    Back to work!

    Reply
  132. Marcus Eriksson
    April 15, 2015

    This was really good and interesting reading! I have, more or less, just begun to blog while traveling, so this helps a lot!

    Reply
  133. Shivya Nath
    April 15, 2015

    Thanks for an insightful and honest perspective Matthew. After 3 years of travel blogging, I’m slowly making the transition to making most of my income through my blog. I have a long way to go though, and sure have found inspiration in your posts.

    Hoping to see you at STS Hamburg!

    Reply
    • Matthew Karsten
      April 15, 2015

      Glad you got something from it Shivya. If you’re passionate about making it work, as it seems you are after blogging for 3 years (more than most), it can be done. We can chat more about it at the conference!

      Reply

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