6 travel blogging mistakes you need to stop making now

6 travel blogging mistakes take me with you

Sometimes you need a BFF to tell you when to JUST. STOP.

Assuming that your BFF’s not a travel blogger, I’m going to go ahead and take that responsibility for a sec. Because when it comes to blogging, your time is precious beyond belief. You cannot afford to keep chasing the wrong goals or pursuing the wrong tactics when trying to get your blog off the ground.

The only place that will lead is a puddle of tears with your forehead on your keyboard.

Today’s post will smash some travel blogging misconceptions so you can spend less time worrying about the wrong things, and more time earning your blog the attention it deserves.

But before we pick apart some of the nastiest (yet easy to make) blogging mistakes, I want to set you off on the right track.

Vagabonds, let me introduce the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge.

#20ToTraffic travel blog challenge take me with you

What’s #20ToTraffic? 20 days of step-by-step, super easy to follow strategies that you can implement in about 10 minutes or less to boost traffic to your travel blog.

The first 10 days cover the best foundational traffic-boosting strategies, while the next 10 days will delve into more involved and advanced techniques.

It’s free to sign up for the challenge, so get in the game right now.

As much as I’m excited to share #20ToTraffic’s tried-and-tested travel blogging strategies with you, I’m even more excited to host the private online community devoted to the challenge. Once you sign up, you’ll be prompted to request to join the exclusive #20ToTraffic Facebook group.

I’ll be in there each and every day of the challenge, as well as your fellow travel bloggers, encouraging, supporting (and holding you accountable!) along the way. You’ll also get plenty (as in, unlimited) opportunity for personal feedback for YOUR travel blog. Got a question? We’re there to answer it.

If you’re ready to get serious about travel blogging, join the challenge now.

I’ll see you on the inside 😉

Though #20ToTraffic will cover all the things you should be doing to boost blog traffic, we should probably put the breaks on some common things you definitely shouldn’t be doing. That’s where today’s 6 blogging mistakes come in. Vagabonds, if you’re making these travel blogging moves, no shame. Just. Stop.

Then devote your time to strategies that actually work.

6 travel blogging mistakes take me with you

1. Prioritizing quantity over quality

You’re really busy. I’m really busy. Everyone who’d dabbled in the world of blogging while juggling a “traditional” job, school, family, or friends is busy. But too many travel bloggers buy into the lie that people will only find and read their blog if they post every single day. Or 3 times a week.

The results are click-bait articles that do nothing to truly captivate your audience and turn readers into subscribers. If being busy is your motto, remember that post quality counts over quantity.

And when I say “quality,” I’m talking beyond nice word choice and applicable info. I’m talking images. SEO. Promotion. Write quality posts, and then treat them with the quality respect they deserve. If you’re trying to post every day, each post is not getting the attention it deserves.

And if you’re posting less and still not putting out your best work? No worries. Post even less. Your audience would rather get a high-quality, bookmark-worthy, Facebook-sharing post once a month than a quick, bland read once a week.

What exactly do I mean by quality beyond good writing? Learn how to give every post the 5-star treatment in the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge>>

2. Pretending to be the world’s foremost travel guru

You don’t know it all, and that’s okay! In fact, no matter how well traveled and globally-minded, no travel blogger knows everything there is to know about travel. There’s always something more to learn. (Because how would the alternative be any fun?)

Yet too many new travel bloggers feel like they have to look like they know more than they do. Writing content based on what you’ve read, rather than your own experience, will turn readers off. Your audience wants authenticity, not travel fluff info they can find anywhere online.

If you want to become the foremost travel go-to on your niche, then stick to covering what you know. Even if that means only writing about your home state.

3. Fearing – and avoiding – SEO

SEO (“search engine optimization”) can seem scary. The fact that some really smart person’s algorithms control whether or not your posts show up in massive search engines like Google is enough to make many travel bloggers slam the laptop shut. Or ignore SEO all together.

There is a happy medium that allows creative freedom while optimizing your writing to rank well in search engines. And no, you don’t need any special tech-knowledge or internet superpowers to figure it out.

Learn how to easily optimize every post for SEO in the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge>>

4. Basking in the limelight

What do you do when you get a taste of success? Give yourself a pat on the back and get back to work (I hope!).

Audience recognition means you’re doing the right thing with your content – it doesn’t mean you’ve got the go-ahead to start writing all about yourself. Authenticity is one thing, but shifting the focus from your topic to your random musings? Not going to go over well with your readers.

The bottom line: readers want to read what you have to say about your travel blog’s topic, not about you. Sorry, it’s harsh. But it’s also reality. Remember to keep the focus travel, and you’re good to go.

5. Favoring social media over list building

I hate to break it to you, but your Facebook following doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to Facebook. Same goes for Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and any other social media platform. With the click of a button, social media superpowers can install new algorithms that change how many of your followers actually see your posts. Sometimes (here’s looking at you, Facebook) this reach can be as low as 10%.

Now consider your email list: each and every one of your subscribers receives your email in their inbox. Every one. That’s a much more direct line to your audience. Think of it as simply picking up the phone and calling your friend to tell her something, whereas social media can be more like tying morse code notes to carrier pigeons.

Whatever you do, do not forsake building your email list – even when you’re just starting out.

I’ll show you how to turn readers into email subscribers with the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge>>

6. Imagining you’re in competition with every other travel blogger

The travel blogging community is one of the most supportive online communities I’ve ever encountered. (As a girl of many professions, ranging from fashion freelance and political journalism to teaching and chemical lab-work, that’s saying something!) When I first started blogging, I was overwhelmed by the number of other travel bloggers already out there. I assumed this meant that I had even less chance of making it as a successful travel blogger.

I was dead wrong.

Once you design and own a specific niche, your blog becomes unique enough to captivate readers. No, you’ll never be the only travel blogger. But you will be the only you. In the world of blogging, that’s not just a sweet catchphrase. It’s true.

Start connecting with other travel bloggers online. You’ll create amazing collaborations, learn lots, and make friends who actually get your travel blogging passion.

Meet your own travel blogging tribe in the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge>>

What mistakes did you first make as a travel blogger? Let me know how you changed in the comments! And don’t forget to join the #20ToTraffic Travel Blog Challenge>>

P.S. 5 ways to stand out as a travel blogger and The 3-word formula for finding a niche you actually love

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26 comments on “6 travel blogging mistakes you need to stop making now”

  1. Rob Taylor says:

    Thank you for calling out that we’re not all in a competition. I feel so strongly that we are at the forefront of changing the perception of the blog industry and that us all being open and helpful to each other, whether it’s helping getting on a press trip or proof reading, we’re all showing brands, businesses and individuals that we are a strong, viable crew with global connections.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      I love the way you phrased that Rob! So true. We are a “strong + viable crew with global connections” . . . and those brands and businesses and individuals are really starting to take notice 🙂

  2. Sia says:

    Bookmarking this post for future use also! I have to admit I am guilty of #3, it is probably because I postpone reading a bit more about it and actually putting it to use.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Glad you liked it Sia! I hear you on SEO fear…I cover more specifics in the #20ToTraffic challenge if you’re interested 🙂

  3. Vyjay says:

    Pretty sensible and practical tips to avoid common blogging mistakes. I think each blogger has his or her unique style of writing and they need to tone it based on audience receptivity. There is place out there for everyone and hence no need to feel the heat of competition as you aptly point out.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      I couldn’t agree more. Well said Vyjay!

  4. Nancy Pitman says:

    Reading your post has taken away a lot of the pressure of SEO worries. Especially when it comes to getting out posts. Trying to get more out instead of quality has been a pet peeve. I’d rather put out useful quality information to help travelers in their pursuit. BTW, I did sign up for your email alerts and looking forward to them!

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Awesome Nancy! Excited to share more tips with you 🙂

  5. Lara Dunning says:

    Great tips! Sometimes what we want to do (post 3 times a week) is not what we should do.Most of us have a lot going on in our lives and putting out a quality post that you’ve given yourself enough time to write, edit and review, makes you feel much better in the end. And, you are so right on Rob.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Thank you Lara! You do feel so much better after a quality post you’re proud of.

  6. Marteen says:

    I’ve just signed up for your challange. Looking forward to starting it. I have to admit I’ve stayed clear of SEO as I haven’t got a clue about it. I hope to change that with your challenge ☺

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Yah Marteen! I’ll see you in #20ToTraffic 🙂

  7. Very interesting list. I definitely need to get on top of #5 that’f for sure! It was a good list, I’m impressed, and thanks for the info!

    Crystal recently posted… Trash the Dress: Medieval Edition

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Crystal!

  8. Aisha says:

    This challenge looks really interesting. I have to admit that I have fallen into the social media game. It seemed better to start there when trying to reach out for sponsorship being such a new blogger.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Social media can be helpful -don’t get me wrong! An email list is just SO MUCH more profitable and secure in the long run.

  9. lilytravella says:

    I love this. I struggle with getting consistent traffic to my blog. Even then I have a lot more followers and interaction than subscribers. I only have 33! I don’t know how to get more people to sign up to my newsletter and email.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Oh Lily I hope you sign up for #20ToTraffic! We’ll talk some foundational tips for growing an email list (and then I go more in depth in the free Travel Blog In 5 ecourse) 🙂

  10. Meg Jerrard says:

    Fantastic list – I think the biggest thing to realize is that you’re not in competition with other bloggers, and to not compare your beginning to someone elses middle or end. It’s very easy to be overcome with blogger envy over someone elses blog, but in the end there’s more than enough love to go around, and getting distracted like that only takes away from the time and effort you could be putting into your brand 🙂

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      I love the way you said that! Yes it’s such a temptation to look at other people and wish you were where they’re at – but really we have no idea of the behind the scenes action going on, or how may mistakes they made and learned from to get where they are now.

  11. Tina Pik says:

    Thanks for highlighting point no. 1 – Most blog articles you read will preach “consistency is key”, post 3 times a week, etc. I really struggle to write good content so often, so finding my own pace and quality has been so important.

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      You’re so welcome Tina 🙂 Yes, with full time work or school, I find it really hard to put my best work out there 3 times a week. And if I throw something up that’s less than my best, I’m always less satisfied.

  12. These are great tips, I actually signed up to your course! 🙂 I really wish I had started my mailing list sooner- one of my aims for this month is to get something up and running!

    1. Sierra Donahue says:

      Awesome Nicole! I hope you enjoy the course 🙂 You’ll have to let me know what you think.

      And yes, mailing list is such a big thing! Congrats for getting a go on it now

  13. eostories says:

    Awesome post! Learned a lot and I’m definitely signing up for the course. Thank you for sharing this and not sugarcoat any part of it!

  14. Theresa says:

    Great and practical list and awesome points you make in your post. I must admit I’m guilty of some of those too, esp SEO. However, I’m def not guilty of quantity vs quality. I’d be thrilled if I could post something weekly. Lol.

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