This is a little article experiment I’ve decided to start so that I can look back on them and see how much I have grown in my travel blogging experience. Also, maybe it can give my readers and potential travel bloggers some idea of what this hobby consists of. I know there are thousands of travel blogs out there, and no two will follow the same growth, but hopefully some stuff will be useful for anyone thinking of travel blogging.
I started this travel blog in mid-2019 so really this is a half year in review. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting in to, just that I needed a hobby and I love to travel. Cody already had his cooking and recipe website that he started shortly after retiring, and he suggested I do something with travel because we are always on the go. So with his help, Jet Set Together was born.
The first thing I think any potential travel blogger needs to do is to determine their niche. Are you going to be aimed at budget travelers, luxe vacations, airline points, weekend trips, hotel reviews etc. This is something I didn’t do. I just decided to start a general travel blog with advice for each country and city I visit. This probably wasn’t the smart way to go about it, I just couldn’t really think of a niche that was super creative. Plus I go to so many places I didn’t want to focus just on one thing.
After decided to start a travel blog, I realized I probably need to get some proper gear. Phone pictures can only cut it so much. Most travel bloggers I follow use a variety of cameras to take all different pictures, so I decided to do that as well. We ended up buying a mirrorless camera (Sony A7II), a drone (DJI Mavic Air), and a GoPro. I know this is a big expense for some people, so you don’t need to do it right away. In fact, many of my articles only use phone pictures. Although having a drone for aerial photography and a waterproof for underwater photography is awesome because it makes your website seem more…professional I guess?
Other than the cameras, I also got accessories for the drone (PolarPro Cinematic Series Filters) and a tripod for the Sony. Once we started doing simple YouTube videos I also got a hand gimbal (DJI OSMO 3) to stabilize my phone videos.
Most everything else we already had. As Cody and I usually travel together, #travelcouple am I right, our luggage choice depends on the length of our trip. We’ll usually split a carry on plus our backpacks if we are traveling somewhere less than a week. If we are going somewhere for a month or longer then we bring a big and a small suitcase since I try to avoid doing laundry as much as possible.
Setting up the blog was actually the easy part. Cody had his website on GoDaddy with WordPress, so he just set me up with an account for my site. I picked the name fairly quickly, and started mapping out ideas of what to post. As I live in Lviv, Ukraine, that was the easiest thing to start posting about. Not to mention how much awesome stuff is in this city to begin with.
Speaking of WordPress, you may know this as the platform most blogs are made on. This is because it is extremely easy to use, and you don’t really have to have any web development skills. I bought my theme because I liked the way it looked, but there are so many great free ones out there it’s easy to find something for everyone.
The best part about WordPress, other than the drag and drop nature of posting, is the plugins. These things can usually add a cool feature to your site, or help in some way or other. Here is the list of plugins I use for my site, along with what they do:
Jetpack: Jetpack can literally do a hundred+ different things. I mainly use it for stats, spam, and backups, but there is so much more that I’ll probably start to use as I grow.
Yoast SEO: I didn’t know what SEO was before starting Jet Set Together, so this plugin helps me optimize my posts to be more easily searchable. I don’t have any ads on the site (yet), so I don’t get money from increased traffic, but it is nice to do things properly.
Interactive Maps: This is a free plugin that I got for my Destinations page. I wanted a map people can click on to go to specific regions. I’m not actually a fan of this one, and may buy a premium one in the near future.
Gallery: Travel blogging is as much about photography as it is writing, so I got this plugin to showcase my favorite pictures regardless of article they are from. I wanted to find a way to let people see only “good” pictures.
Sroll To Top: This widget allows readers to click on an arrow that shoots them right up to the top of the article. My theme already has one implemented, but it’s only at the bottom of the page and I wanted one that is responsive.
Within My Theme
Instagram Feed: Allows readers to see my recent Instagram pictures at the bottom of the page, as well as a way to follow.
My only regret is that I didn’t start this blog earlier. I currently only have about 15 countries on the website, but I’ve been to over 60. Before I started the blog I rarely took pictures, so while I have all this great advice, sometimes there is just a blurry cell phone picture or no pictures at all. I don’t steal other peoples content, nor do I wanna just use Shutterstock/stock images so it is kind of disappointing to not have content for those places.
I mean, I lived in China for 4 years and don’t have a single article for the entire country. I guess I could write something like “How To Get To The Great Wall” even though it’s already been done 10,000 times.
Nowadays I’m the farthest thing from a lazy traveler. I do tons of research before going somewhere so I can see as much as I can. After all, if I want a beach vacation, I can just go somewhere I’ve already posted about.
By the end of 2019 my site had just over 1000 visitors. I have uploaded a bit over 100 articles, and hundreds of pictures. 12 countries have been added on three continents.
I told myself I would not add advertisements until I reached a healthy amount of visitors, so maybe some time this year I will set up Google Adsense.
I know travel blogging is not a get rich quick thing, nor do I care. I started this blog as a hobby, and while it would be great if eventually it funds future trips, I will be okay with it never making a cent. I think if you go into travel blogging with the only goal to make a bunch of money as fast as possible, you won’t have a very quality blog.
Gribova Hata or Mushroom House is a restaurant in the center of Bukovel, the biggest…December 11, 2020