There are SO many topics that can be covered when it comes to travel blogging, and the tens of thousands of travel bloggers out there create all different types of content. But there are certain types of blog posts that will help your blog grow quicker than others, and if you’re smart, you’ll only want to devote your time to writing and publishing the ones that do.
These are the types of blog posts that WON’T help grow your blog, because they aren’t super shareable and also won’t be search-engine friendly — two key components of content that will get those blog stats up quicker. Avoid wasting your time writing these types of posts and you’ll see a better return on your time investment.
1. Photo diaries
Lots of travel bloggers will label a recap of one of their trips as a “photo diary” — or something of the sort. But these types of blog posts, as lovely as they may be for you to write so that you can reminisce about your holiday, typically don’t provide much value to your readers and don’t have the most attention-grabbing headlines (even if you THINK you’ve written a pretty good one).
Instead of a photo diary, create a post that will actually benefit someone who has no idea who you are. Think about it— if a complete stranger came across your blog, why should they give a hoot about your “lovely” city break in Barcelona? Here’s the thing — they won’t. But, if you use your holiday to create a post that gives them super-useful information that will help them on their upcoming trip to Barca, then they’ll stick around and give it a read (and perhaps see what else you’ve got on your site.)
Two good examples:
My Complete Japan Itinerary by World of Wanderlust — Brooke turned her tour of Japan into a post that gives her readers a brief itinerary that they can follow, and include hotel recommendations and more.
What to Eat in Val D’Isere (and Where to Eat It) by Elle Croft — Elle took a ski trip to Val D’isere and used her experience to put together this (yummy) blog post with lots of food and restaurant recommendations. It’s perfect for someone who’s planning to ski there anytime in the next couple of years— they could literally print the blog post off and have a list of great places to eat.
2. “Reasons to visit [enter destination here]”
If I see one more post with this title….
Not only has it been SO overdone, but I’m pretty damn sure that no one actually reads posts that have that title— I know that I don’t!
Ok… I’ll calm down now, but before you write a post listing out the reasons someone should visit somewhere, think about who the ideal reader is for this post. Obviously, it’s not for someone who’s already planning on visiting the destination, or who has already been there, because they already know the reasons they should visit, because they are or already have.
So, that leaves people who have not visited before, and it’s unlikely that someone will say to themselves “I’d really like someone to list out the reasons why I should visit a certain destination” and that they’ll feel as if they have gained anything valuable from reading that post.
To me, this is a fall-back blog post, for when you just don’t know what to say about a location. If you can’t think of anything else to write about a location, then, you shouldn’t be writing about it at all. Get creative and think outside the box please!
3. “10 Things to Do in [destination]”
List posts are GREAT for travel blogs— they are easy for readers to consume, and they perform very well on social media and in search result if done correctly.
However, you need to be careful with “10 Things to Do in [location]”, as you may be creating a post that’s been done multiple, or even hundreds, of times before. This means that not only are you being unoriginal, you’re creating content that your readers may have already read, and you’ll also be completing with hundreds or thousands of other articles and blog posts with very similar content.
So, the key here is to get niche.
There are three ways to do this:
1. Target a specific group of people (couples, families, solo travellers, etc.)
2. Write about an unknown/less popular destination
3. Curate the list around a specific interest
Even when you’ve “niched your post down”, you should still do a quick Google Search to see what your competition will look like. For example, writing about the top things to do with kids in Orlando has OBVIOUSLY been done a million times before, so try to niche down even more so that you stand out from the crowd and also have a better chance or ranking in search for a more specific keyword.
Two good examples:
Top 10 Things to Do on a Girls’ Holiday in Dubai by The Travelista — Jess didn’t just write a generic post about Dubai, she went super-niche and catered it to girl getaway groups. Super smart.
5 Things to Do in Nantes, France by Love and London (me!) — I visited Nantes a couple of years ago for a blogging conference but had never heard of it before then (about 75% of people I tell about it never have either!) so I knew that I could go fairly generic on this one because there’s not much content out there on Nantes.
Oh my word, us travel bloggers love a good review, don’t we?
Personally, I don’t read reviews, and if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit you don’t either, except for the occasional one that your travel blogger friend might have written. And because of lovely sites like TripAdvisor, it’s pretty much impossible to get a review blog post to appear on page one of Google, even if someone actually searches for a review of the hotel or tour that you’ve written about.
So, low engagement and no chance of getting any search traffic means that review posts aren’t worth your time.
If you really like a hotel or tour and want to recommend it to your readers, create a bigger piece of content, like a guide or list post for the destination, and then mention it there. If your readers really want to hear some more details about it, they’ll leave a comment asking for it. If you find LOTS of people asking for more details, it’s worth writing up a quick review and linking to it in the original post, however, only do so if it will save you time when it comes to answering questions in the comments.
5. Reflective or opinion pieces
If your blog has a large readership of people that loyally read each of your blog posts, reflective or opinion-based posts are a great way to connect to your audience on a personal level. But, if you’re still in the stage of growing your blog as quickly and efficiently as possible, these types of posts are unlikely to be a good investment of your time. They don’t tend to rank well in search engines (seeing a patten here?) and even if your fellow travel blogger friends share it for you, their audiences that aren’t familiar with you probably won’t give a crap what you think or how you’re feeling about something.
Harsh? Maybe. But, it’s reality.
Hold onto your opinions and reflections until you have a solid base of loyal readers who are interested in hearing what you have to say.
6. “10 Things That Surprised Me in [Destination]”
Blog posts like this and others where “me” is the focus in the title is much less likely to be clicked on than if the focus was on the reader. Why? Because people are selfish— they don’t want to read your blog post because they want to help you feel good about yourself, they’ll read it if they are going to get something from it for themselves. People read (and share!) posts that will make their lives easier or better in some way. So when you put the focus on you, the blogger, you’re turning them off.
Now, “10 Things That Will Surprise You About [Destination]” is a bit better, but this is kind of similar to the “Reasons to Visit” type of post. Will a post like that really make anyone’s life easier or better if they read it? Probz not. Again, bring it back to creating a piece of content that WILL.
What types of posts do you find are helping you grow your own travel blog significantly? Let me know in the comments below.