If travel is your passion, there’s no better way to turn it into a lifestyle than by helping others achieve their travel dreams. As a travel agent or independent agent, you probably already know this. You help people achieve their travel dreams every day! But if you want to reach more would-be travelers, the best way to do this is to create a travel blog. If you think this is nonsense, I implore you to read on. I’m here to tell you why and how to start a travel blog in addition to your travel agency website.
5 steps to starting your own travel blog
First, the technical stuff.
Then create good, visually exciting articles.
Resist the urge to rave about your agency.
Feature stories from your clients.
Finally, write for other travel blogs.
But first, let’s talk briefly about what you stand to gain from having a travel blog.
Why start a travel blog if I already have a travel agency website?
You may think that having a kick-a** travel agency is good enough to bring in a melee of people, all tripping over one another to sign up for one of your tours or download one of your guides. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only travel agency on the web with drool-inducing photos of pristine white-sand beaches or all-inclusive yacht deals. Without proper marketing and promotion of your services, there may not actually be any tripping to speak of.
Whenever someone asks me how to start a travel blog, the first thing I tell them is: Blogging is like fishing. Soon-to-be travelers want all the information they can get on destinations and activities they’re considering, and the services they’re browsing. If you can offer useful, detailed and inspiring travel information, you can lure potential clients to your website.
If you don’t believe me, consider this little number: 47 percent of buyers viewed 3 to 5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. This means that nearly half of the visitors to your site want to read up on information all on their lonesome before they really get down to business. If you don’t have content to spark their interest, they might move on to someone who does.
The truth is, blogs bring more visitors to your website. Not convinced? Consider the impact a travel blog could have on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and the resulting traffic coming through your digital doors.
Websites with blogs are 434 percent more likely to be noticed by Google. This translates into more visitors to your website.
Compared to standalone websites, websites with a blog have approximately 434 percent more pages indexed by search engines like Google. Did you just do a double take? Yeah, that’s a big number. If you didn’t just do a double-take, let me briefly explain to you why this is important. The more pages on your website are indexed, the more Google’s crawlers take note. The more Google’s crawlers take note, the more your content has a chance of showing up in web searches, bringing a higher volume of new visitors to your site.
Now that we’ve covered the “why to start a travel blog,” let’s take a spin on the “how to start a travel blog” ride.
How to start a travel blog to complement your agency website
1. First, the technical stuff
While it’s hard to give detailed technical steps without knowing the platform you use for your website, the formula is pretty similar across the board. If you happen to be using WordPress for your travel agency website, adding a blog is simple.
If your website is built with WordPress, but you’re not currently using the Posts functionality, you can follow these instructions to add a blog page to your existing WordPress site:
- When you’re in the dashboard, click Pages and then choose “Add New.”
- A text box will appear where you can enter the name for your new Page. Since you’re creating a blog, a practical name for the Page would be “Blog.” However, if you have a fun and catchy name for your new blog, that would work as well.
- Don’t forget to leave the text box blank. Instead of showing site information, you want WordPress to leave that space available for blog posts once you assign it. We’ll get to that in a moment.
- Click Publish. This action saves the page and publishes it to your site.
- Choose “Settings,” and then “Reading.”
- Choose the newly-created Page.
- You’ll see a “Blog Pages Show at Most” option where you can choose how many posts you want to display on the Page at a time.
- Click Save.
If you don’t use WordPress, these steps may not be the same, but you can follow this general guideline for adding pages, or you can do a quick search on how to add a blog to the platform you’re using. If you have a web designer, the process is even simpler. Just ask them to add on a blog page for you and you’re ready to start posting useful articles and pictures!
2. Then create good, visually exciting articles
As I mentioned previously, would-be clients have a habit of browsing the web before they interact with you or your agency. The reason is obvious; people want to get a feel for the kind of agency you are and the kind of services you provide before committing.
Offering good, honest content on your blog is an opportunity to pique interest and embolden potential clients to reach out for more information.
Consider some of these topics to write about in your blog:
- The most incredible beaches in X
- Seven must-see festivals in X
- A foodie’s guide to X
- What to pack when going on an X week vacation
- What shots to get before traveling to X region
These blog post topics are useful and provide value to your travel agency business. Including this information in a blog on your website will not only pique interest, it will position you as a thought leader in your field as well.
3. Resist the urge to rave about your agency
Another thing I always tell anyone who asks how to start a travel blog is what not to do. Yes, your blog is meant to help generate business, but keep in mind that this travel blog isn’t necessarily about you — it’s about the client. Refrain from too many posts declaring the faultlessness of your travel services, and instead focus on practical information, inspiring stories and client testimonials. No one likes a show-off.
4. Feature stories from your clients
The best stories are first-hand accounts from your clients. In fact, this is why reviews are so powerful. Potential clients don’t just want to hear it from you — after all, you’re your own biggest cheerleader. Hearing it from the mouth of one of your clients is far more trustworthy and credible to people considering scraping together their PTO (paid time off) and taking off on an adventure of a lifetime.
Make a list of clients who had particularly incredible experiences and ask them if they would like to be interviewed for your blog. You can depend on the fact that most people are delighted to tell their stories; especially their travel stories. So don’t be afraid to give your happy clients their 15 minutes of fame.
5. Finally, write for other travel blogs
Guest posts are a fantastic way to garner more potential clients. By posting something useful and insightful on another travel blogger’s website, you’ll be grabbing a whole new set of eyes. Make sure you include links to your travel agency website so that if these new readers like what they see, they have a way to find you.
Ask other travel bloggers to write for you as well. It raises your blog’s visibility because they’ll post that article on their networks.
Remember that guest posting is a two-way street, so offer your gracious hosts a space on your blog as well. This will help create rapport with your fellow travel bloggers and will bring their readership to your blog, and perhaps their vacation dreams to your doorstep. Plus, the backlinks embedded in the article help you rank better in Google. Everybody wins with guest posting!
Go forth and conquer
Blogging is really about sharing what you know with the people who are likely to be future customers through web articles. Now that you know how to start a travel blog and why it’s important, go forth into the (digital) world and start creating your beautiful, insightful content for your future clients as they plan their next vacation.