I am excited to reach this post in the Developing a Successful Travel Blog series because I've found it to be a glaring blind spot for a lot of travelers keeping a blog. It's completely understandable. Most travelers are simply looking for a way to relay their experiences, not become professional writers. All the same, regardless of how much effort you want to put into your blog, it's worth an hour of your time to learn how to ensure whomever does land on your page, fully reads and enjoys what you wrote.
In the online world of multi-tabbed browser windows and multi-tasking employees, time is limited and patience is in short supply. The best thing you can do to attract and retain new visitors is make your content easy to browse and read.
Take one more step toward travel blogging success by following these effective writing techniques for an online audience.
- Break your writing up within each post. It's better to present lots of little paragraphs than long stream-of-conscience prose. It's simply too difficult to read, especially when you account for the increasing popularity of web browsing from mobile devices. On a personal note, if I see blog entries presented in this manner, I don't even bother to start reading, and I certainly don't subscribe!
- Use bolding, italics, or underlining to highlight important words or concepts. Don't go overboard, that's just annoying.
- Consider altering your font, text size, and color. Again, make sure whatever scheme you come up with remains easy to read.
- Create lists using bullet points or numbers.
- Use blockquotes.
- Start a multi-post series. It is a great way to develop a finite subplot within your overall travel adventures.
- Include links when appropriate and make sure the color stands out from normal text.
Travelers have an edge in the headline department. After all, if we're not chopping through the Amazon jungle with a machete, then we're on a camel trek across an Indian desert.
Write attention-grabbing, eye-catching, exciting, and/or provocative headlines. As blogs increase in popularity, subscribers have to manage dozens, if not hundreds of them. Often, these users will simply scan headlines to decide what to read, and if your headlines are boring or uninspired, you'll be passed over in an instant.
Incorporate a Variety of Media
Photos and video are a great way to enrich your readers' experience, while breaking up text. Photos are practically a given these days, yet you'd be surprised how many blog posts I've seen without them. I aim to share at least one photo per blog post, and while traveling it was often 3-4.
Video can be more difficult. The time required to upload large files can be overbearing in locations with slow internet connections. If you want to post videos as you go, try increasing or decreasing the length depending on the connection speeds of the city or country where you are located.
Mp3's are another great way to let the reader in on your experience, especially if you upload local songs you are hearing along the way.
- Schedule frequent posts throughout the days or weeks to ensure each post is narrow in topic, and not too long. If you or your readers get tired scrolling down in a single post, it's too long. Break it up and benefit from the added bonus of increased traffic.
- Always use spell-check! You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and if your posts are riddled with typos, readers may not return. If you're particularly challenged by grammar, double check your post in a word-processing program like Microsoft Word.
- As you get started, ask for feedback from readers about their experience on your blog. E-mail people you know, add a poll to your blog, or simply write a post aimed directly at at soliciting reader feedback on their experience.
- Once you establish a certain style, format, or approach, stick to it. Regular readers will grow accustomed to it and appreciate your consistency.
I remember reading a lot of articles about how to write for an online audience when I was getting started back in early 2007. Little has changed since then, and after you read a few articles as well, the common themes will be evident.