I’m often asked by travel writers to look at their website and make suggestions. Because of this I’ve discovered a lot of really great travel blogs. I always offer constructive feedback, however, most of them make a common mistake that keeps them from getting any significant amount of site traffic, and few, if any, comments.
What’s this grave mistake that prevents them from becoming authority sites? As great as they are, as well written as their content often is, they lack specialization, or more simply, a travel niche. They have no specialty that would set them apart from every other travel blog out there.
There are some travel writers who do an exceptionally good job with their travel blogs – they travel frequently and regularly add fresh travel content to their blog. Their sites are well organized and easy to navigate, and I enjoy reading their travel articles. But let’s be honest here – there are thousands of travel writers out there, many of whom are also doing just as good a job.
So how do you stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple – choose a travel niche. Find a specific topic that you are passionate about (and no, “travel” is not specific enough), and focus on writing about that topic.
A perfect travel niche for you should be:
- Something you love, and
- Something you know a lot about, and
- Something you have firsthand experience with
Your travel niche can be a specific place or a specific type or method of travel. Examples of some travel niches for which I’ve seen websites that are very well done include:
- Place – bloggers who write about what’s going on in their hometown, expats who live abroad and write about their adopted place of residence as they explore it, and travel writers who focus on writing only about the Spas of the world;
- Type – bloggers who write about solo travel, traveling with small children or pets, girls getaways, Eco-tourism, voluntarism, adventure travel, and spiritual pilgrimages;
- Method – bloggers who write about backpacking trips, bicycling or walking tours, river cruises, and even some of the worlds best train trips.
The reason these websites do very well is that they remain focused on a small travel niche that they can dominate by regularly adding new, interesting, valuable, and focused content about that niche. By doing that, it’s far more likely that people who are searching for information on that topic will find them.
In addition to attracting more site visitors, when you write on a specialized travel niche topic, you have the opportunity to be perceived as an expert in your travel niche. And being an Expert is a good thing. People love to quote experts, especially in print. People love to ask experts for help and advice. Experts get offered opportunities – frequently paying opportunities – that others don’t get.
When Publishers want content on a specific locale, they look first for writers who already know that particular destination well. When an Editor or Journalist needs a quote on a specific subject, they look for an expert on that subject. Experts get asked to sit on Panel and Advisory Boards, judge competitions, give speeches or lectures, contribute to new projects, and much more. The fastest way to become an expert is to pick a niche that you know very well and write about it. Teach others. Share your knowledge.
The bottom line is that if you choose to write about all things travel and all destinations, you might be able to succeed and make a living from it, but it will certainly be challenging because you have a lot of competition in that market — some really good competition, too. But if you pick a niche, and work to become the go-to person in that niche, success will be easier and opportunities will come sooner.