People often ask us for hints about how to create a blog which has a good following. Online engagement is a topic I write about on my personal site at www.traceybenson.com, but thought it might be useful to share some tips with travel bloggers.
Here are our top hints:
- Start off with a free blog from blogger.com or wordpress.com if you have never created a blog before. Also tumblr.com can be used to create blogs. We prefer WordPress as it is also a robust CMS (Content Management System) but that is a different topic!
- Choose a theme that suits your topic – do a search on other blogs that have related topics.
- Before you post your first article, make sure you have created an “About” page to share with readers who you are and why you blog. It is also good to have a photo on your About page.
- Use categories and tags on your posts. Our rule of thumb is no more than three categories, but lots of tags.
- Make sure you optimise your images. We try to avoid posting images that are over 1200 pixels wide.
- Correctly attribute your images, put a copyright symbol if they are yours – ©. If you have borrowed them than make sure you have permission, and use the correct attribution – either a © or a creative commons (CC) license . We sometimes use images from Flickr Commons which are mostly royalty free, but we always give details of where the image comes from (its provenance).
- Watermark your photos as a safe guard. It won’t stop unscrupulous people from taking them, but it might make them think twice. Think of it like the ‘video surveillance’ signs people put on their front gate, to put off intruders.
- Make sure you caption your images and provide ‘alt text’ to make your posts more accessible.
- Posts and pages – people often get confused about the difference between these. Pages are designed for static content that does not change, like your ‘About’ page. Posts are your articles which is your new and evolving content – the dynamic area of your site.
- Use the “Publicize” feature so you can automatically promote new posts to your social media channels.
- Engage with other bloggers – if people like and follow you, then return the complement! Drop in on their blog, have a look, thank them and give a complement if you like what they are doing.
- If you have more than one blog then reblogging is a good way for cross promoting your content, you might even pick up some new followers. If you want to reblog someone else’s post, it is good etiquette to ask the blogger first. They might also return the favour, which is a great complement.
- Blog regularly – be consistent – if you tell your readers you post every week – stick to it! It is also good to contribute more posts in the first three months, so you can build your community.
- Have fun! Blogging is about sharing what you love to do with the world 🙂
If we have missed something (I am sure we have), let us know and we will add it to the list.