Last weekend, a Pinoy Travel Bloggers Forum was conducted by Blog And Soul. I was one of the panelist there along with Edgar Allan Zeta-Yap, Ivan Henares, James Betia and later joined by Gael Hilotin and facilitator Nina Fuentes. It was an interesting afternoon of discussion about different aspects of Travel Blogging (You could watch the recorded stream here). One interesting question specifically asked of me was “What are the top 5 or or 10 steps a new travel blogger MUST take to set up a unique travel website?” I thought it was a really good question especially for those new and starting out on Travel Blogging. I gave only 5 steps below.
1. Write based on your experience. Why? Because your experience is unique to your own. A number of travel bloggers can visit a same destination but have different perspectives, opinions and insights on the same place. It’s easy to write a guide or a “how to” of a destination which anyone can copy but no one can copy your own travel story.
2. Show your Character and Personality. It is the one that will make you stand out from the hundreds and thousands of travel blogs out there. Your unique voice that people can relate to will be your anchor for your readers to keep coming back for more.
3. Hone your skills. Blogging is writing and honing your skills in this aspect will make it easy for your audience to read your blog more. Let go of the “Haha’s” and “hehe” for now if you want people to take you seriously. Make use of the spell-check to minimize those glaring errors. As a blogger, it is our responsibility to self-edit and proofread our works (unless you are paying someone else to do the work). Mistakes can happen which is okay since we have the leeway to correct them but seeing the effort to make your work readable will surely be appreciated. This goes same with Photography, improving on your skills on taking picture can surely enhance your travel blog.
4. Branding makes a difference. Now if you are really serious about having a unique travel blog, investing time to think on how to package your blog is important. It will be easy for people’s recognition. Getting a domain name, whether you are staying in blogger or wordpress or having a self-hosted one shows your commitment to an identity you want to project as a travel blogger, so think carefully. Second, take time to learn about customizing a template or look that sets your blog apart from the other blogs. If you are not techie there are templates which you can purchase and easily change the look. Even a unique banner would do. What is important is how differently you present yourself to the world.
5. Learn to engage with readers. Interacting with readers increases your likeability as it shows that people can approach you. In this age of social media and lightning fast transfer of information, using tools such as twitter, facebook and google+ can increase your readership interaction. Personally it can be hard to keep track to all of them but simply replying to reader comments on your blog itself will help.
These are just the initial steps that you could do to create a unique travel blog but it can go past these. Be creative! How about adding multimedia content if you are video-savvy. It can be hard to find your own identity in the blogosphere at first but experiment along the way and for sure you’ll find your own unique voice in the world of travel blogging