Guide to Travel Blogging

Wandering Earl’s Guide To Travel Blogging…Sort Of

Derek Everything Else, Work & Travel 134 Comments

Guide to Travel Blogging

It’s been some four years since I wrote my first blog post on this site. Four insane years.

When I clicked the “Publish” button on that very first post back in 2009, never could I have envisioned the wild ride that this website would lead me on. Never could I have imagined that a silly thing like a blog could play such a major role in everything I would do from that point forward.

How did this happen? Seriously, how did it happen?

I sure have no idea. And the more I think about it, the more clueless I am.

What I do know though is that I’ve met a massive amount of incredible people during this blogging adventure and I’ve learned a great deal about myself, about others, about the world in general. I’ve also learned what is important to me in life and I’ve discovered that there is definitely no one right way to do anything.

In fact, regarding that last point, and in terms of blogging, if I were to listen to all of the advice out there about how to blog correctly, I probably wouldn’t still be blogging today. I remember trying to figure out ‘how to blog’ when I first started and I also remember getting a headache after every research session. So much information out there, so many people telling me one thing, so many people telling me another thing. You need to do this, you need to do that. If you don’t do this your blog will explode, if you don’t do that you’ll never, ever, ever, ever have any readers.

Information and advice overload!

Before I continue, I know that many of you are bloggers as well or you’re thinking about blogging at some point. I know that you probably have tons of questions and you want to know what you should do in order to ensure that you achieve all of your blogging goals.

And while I could pretend right now to provide you with answers to those questions, answers full of advice that I could claim you ‘must’ follow in order to become a successful blogger (whatever that means), I’d rather just tell you that there are no rules, tips or pieces of advice, from anyone, that you ‘must’ follow to make that happen.

So, that’s why this guide to travel blogging is not about telling you how to blog. I’m about to tell you how I blog instead. Maybe it will prove useful to you in some way or maybe it will all sound absurd and give you a headache.

We shall see.

Be Yourself, Not Just Another Travel Blogger

It all starts here. I don’t consider this site a travel blog. I consider my site a blog, a blog about my lifestyle, and my lifestyle just happens to involve a great deal of travel. As you’ll notice, I don’t only write about travel. I write about things happening in my life, about how I feel, the challenges I face, the lessons I learn. Yes, much of that is related to travel since I am traveling all the time but I’m trying to share my personal experiences no matter what I’m doing.

Early on, I realized that there were indeed thousands of travel bloggers out there. And I remember thinking it was strange that we all wanted to be classified as a ‘travel blogger’ in the first place. Why do we need to be in such a category? In fact, being classified as such tricks us into thinking that we must always write about travel, about ‘what to do in Paris’ or about topics that you would find on thousands of travel websites already, when that’s not the case at all.

So, that’s why I decided that I didn’t need to be a travel blogger. I needed to be a blogger. This instantly freed me up to write about absolutely anything, allowing me to be more human and more personal in what I write and hopefully, to connect with all of you on a much different level as a result.

Be Yourself

How I Gained An Audience

I’ll admit, I got a bit lucky on this one. My post “How I Can Afford My Life of Constant Travel” became quite popular somehow and ever since I wrote it back in June of 2011, it has brought me several thousand visitors per day. And since a lot of people connect with that post, many of its readers have stuck around and become regular visitors to the site, for which I am greatly thankful.

However, you don’t need a near-viral post to gain an audience. If I think about it, I can understand why that particular post was indeed popular. Based on the comments and the emails I receive, it is clear that this post resonates with a lot of you and has helped some of you realize that your travel goals are indeed achievable.

And that’s the key. When I write a post, my aim is to make it useful. I want to always help others in some way. Sure, sometimes it works, and sometimes I fail, that’s how it goes. Sometimes I just write plain nonsense because that’s the mood I’m in. You can’t write a useful or interesting post every time but you still don’t want to lose track of that goal. If your posts aren’t helping others, or entertaining them or making them think differently than they would normally think, it will be difficult to grow an audience because you are not creating any bridge between the two of you.

Just imagine yourself, it’s what I do. Let me clarify…I actually think about myself, not about your self, at least not in a naughty way, usually. Ok, back on track here…

I always imagine myself visiting my own blog. I certainly wouldn’t become a regular reader of my site, or any site, if what I read didn’t provide some value to me.

Keep that in mind. If you write posts aimed at attracting advertisers or you write posts whose sole purpose is to show up in Google searches for specific keywords or posts that are written just for the sake of writing something, I’d say you’re off track.

You simply forgot about the most important aspect of your blog – your readers. You can never forget about your readers. Never, ever, even if there is only one.

Everything you do should be done to enhance their experience. That’s something I’ve always believed and will never change my mind about because, as I’ve said before many times, without all of you, this blog wouldn’t exist and as a result, my life would not be as fulfilling as it currently is.

How I Continue To Try And Grow My Blog

Once I started to enjoy a consistent number of visitors finding this site each day, it was time to start thinking about ways to grow the readership at a faster pace, right? Well, yes. But, no. I love when my readership grows of course but I don’t really put much effort into making it happen apart from trying to continue writing useful posts. For me, it all comes back to that.

That’s why I sometimes write a post where I ask all of you what you would like me to write about. It’s not a trick question. It’s actually quite simple. I really want to know what you want me to write about so that I can provide you with exactly that.

I’ll be honest, writing doesn’t come naturally to me at all. It’s a struggle at times for me to put together a post and there are days, or even weeks, when I have real difficulty figuring out what to write. So, by telling me what kind of information you are looking for, I am able to ensure that I am providing you with posts that interest you, as often as I possibly can.

And my hope is that the more I can offer such posts, the more the word will spread about the blog to others who are looking for the same kind of information, the same blog experience. That can then lead to more mentions in various media outlets, on other blogs and even through word of mouth, bringing more readers into the community.

How I Gained An Audience

It’s All About The Community

About three months after I started this blog, I made a promise to myself. I promised to answer every email and comment that I would ever receive. Sure, I think I had downed a few, or seven, beers before I said it but I’ve tried my best to stick with it nonetheless. Unfortunately, I’ve failed myself with this one. While I do answer every single email and I do try to reply to every comment, I’ve realized that it’s just not possible to reply to them all.

I already spent about four hours per day answering emails and comments and I’m just unable to spend more time on it. My apologies to anyone whose message I may have missed…it’s not intentional at all. You can always feel free to write me again if I didn’t get back to you or leave another comment and just let me know I missed it the first time. I will respond!

This site is all about the community of readers, you, as I’ve mentioned above. And in my opinion, there can only be a strong, engaged community if the blogger plays a major role in the site apart from just writing posts, and only if the blogger truly loves being a part of it all as well.

This is why I reply to all emails. I love hearing from you, I love hearing your stories and reading your questions. And I love sharing whatever advice I can to hopefully help you achieve your travel goals. I want you to know that I’m as accessible as possible and that I don’t just write a post and then forget about it, and in turn, forget about you. This is how I believe blogging should work.

Social Media, Keeping It Simple

I used to spend about one to one and a half hours on Twitter and Facebook every single day, at least for the first two years. Did it help? Well, the best thing I received from the time I spent on Twitter in those early days were the connections I made. I met new people, interacted with other bloggers and travelers and learned a great deal from so many of them. This also helped me to start spreading the word about my blog and to finally get that consistent trickle of readers that causes bloggers to run up and down the street in their underwear, shouting their excitement at the top of their lungs and hugging every single person they see, until they get arrested of course.

So yes, social media, as well as commenting on other blogs and just interacting with the general travel blogging, as well as lifestyle blogging, financial blogging, motivational blogging, and other communities (not necessarily attaching yourself to any particular community, just interacting from your own space) was fantastic and definitely a major stepping stone in getting this blog off the ground.

And as many of you know, you could easily spend hours commenting and being on social media sites, trying your best to connect with even more people, to promote your site everywhere, to attract even one more reader over to your blog!

Social Media

It can certainly be addicting, which is why, these days, I only spend ten minutes per day, maybe fifteen, on social media, which for me is still only Twitter and Facebook.

Call me old fashioned (or just old!) but I don’t really like to use any other social media sites. Not only do I have limited time but I just don’t have the interest. I spend enough time online as it is and as a result, I would rather skip out on those other social media sites and use my time to be outdoors enjoying my travels or wherever I happen to be staying at the time.

Would I benefit from more time on social media? Most likely yes. But at some point you need to find a balance and I’m personally willing to give up those benefits for more offline time doing other things that I love to do.

But don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy social media. In fact, I thoroughly enjoy the interactions I have on my Wandering Earl Facebook Page. Every day I look forward to sharing random things with you, hearing your thoughts about whatever I post, learning from you and just getting to know so many new people, even if it’s through one comment or like at a time.

The point is, every blogger needs to figure out what works best for themselves. Do what you enjoy in terms of social media, skip what you don’t. That will take you much farther than trying to do ‘everything’ just because you’ve read in every guide to travel blogging that you need to be on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google +, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Foursquare and every other social media site for a minimum of six hours per day in order to be a ‘successful’ blogger.

Earning An Income Through A Blog

This is always the big topic to discuss as it seems like many people are starting a blog these days strictly to earn money from it. In my view, that’s the wrong reason to start a blog, or at least it shouldn’t be the focus before you even have an audience. I can’t say it enough. If your readers, or potential readers, aren’t your major focus, it’s going to be quite a difficult, and most likely disappointing, road ahead.

While it may appear that something like advertising income is easy to earn through a blog, what you have to realize is that nobody is going to pay to advertise on your site unless you can offer some value in return. That’s how advertising works. Nobody will pay $100 to place an ad in your sidebar if you don’t have an audience to actually see that ad. It wouldn’t make sense.

Also, if your focus is on attracting advertisers, consider again what you would want if you visited your own blog for the first time. That’s what I did. I asked myself, “Would I stick around if my site was plastered with advertising? No way. Would I keep on reading each week if every post had sponsored links in it? Not a chance. Would I visit my site more than once if I felt that the writer’s focus was on earning money from their audience instead of helping them? Hell no.

That was all it took to convince me to pay close attention to the advertising I place on my site, which as you can see, is quite limited.

But I am aware that a blogger must spend so much time on their blog that it’s hard to put in the effort without receiving some financial gain. I understand that and felt the same way. Blogging can be a full-time job and I don’t know of too many people who would work a full-time job without getting paid for it!

Earning an Income

Back in 2010, as the site started to grow, I thought long and hard about how to proceed. Eventually, I reached the conclusion that accepting advertising was a poor long-term strategy. So I decided to give up almost all of the potential advertising revenue that I could earn from that point onwards (I do accept a few ads per year) in the hopes of growing a larger audience, of creating a larger community of readers, of creating a site that visitors wanted to spend time on without being annoyed by ads.

My idea is that if you blog for your readers and you provide them with the blog experience that you would want yourself, you’ll discover other ways to earn some money, ways that will hopefully benefit your audience to an even greater extent.

I won’t go through it all here but you can read how I’ve been able to earn money in this post: “How I Make Money Online To Support My Travels”.

The only thing I’ve added since writing that post is something you’ll find on my contact page. When sending me questions or asking for advice via email, I do suggest making a $5 donation to my Wander Fund. The main reason is that again, I do spend over four hours answering emails every single day and I put a great deal of effort into every single message I write, always striving to offer the most detailed advice and answers to your questions that I possibly can. Will I answer your email if you don’t make a donation? Absolutely! It’s simply a suggestion based on the amount of time I do spend in putting together a thorough and hopefully helpful reply.

Overall, do I earn millions as a travel, sorry, as a blogger? No. Do I earn what I feel, and what I hope you, my readers, feel, is a fair wage for the amount of time and effort I put into this site, into my eBooks, into my tours, into everything I do that is related to this blog? Yes, I honestly do.

Conclusion

I’m quite a stubborn person. While I’m always open to advice and instruction from other people, I have a hard time actually listening and following that advice and instruction sometimes. I prefer to do things my own way, or at least to discover on my own, how I should do something.

The funny thing is that I realized, when it comes to blogging, you have to do it your own way. If you try to follow others or copy exactly what other bloggers are doing, you probably won’t get too far. You can learn from others for sure but you need to always remember to be yourself, to blog in your own style, to create your own rules and to always try and provide value to your particular readership if you want to stand out at all.

That’s what I think anyway.

Hopefully, you don’t have a headache at this point. If you do, just ignore everything above and you’ll feel much, much better.

Any questions about blogging? Any advice you want to share based on your own blogging experiences?


Since 1999 I've been traveling and living around the world nonstop. Sign up below for personal stories, real advice and useful updates from my adventures. Only good stuff, no nonsense.

Are you ready to earn money and travel?

How to Work on a Cruise Ship and Travel eBooksClick above and get started!

Comments 134

  1. KloeyAnne Kelton

    Hey There!
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts, I just stumbled across your blog about an hour ago and I’ve read a lot of them. Reading, writing and teaching are things that I am very passionate about, and I’ve always fantasized about having a blog that people actually read and find useful. I am planning on starting one soon, but I have a couple questions for you!
    1. Do you have any recommendations on which site to use, or do you recommend starting your own website right away and letting it grow?
    2. As far as uploading pictures, blog posts and keeping up with social media abroad, what do you recommend. Do you have a smart phone that you simply use wifi on when it’s available? Do you pay for a cell phone plan in the countries you visit? Or do you lug around a laptop or tablet? Digital camera?

    Thanks for your advice!
    KloeyAnne

  2. Campbell

    Hi Earl, nice post, thanks good job. I have been traveling for more or less 3 years and started a blog maybe a year into my trip. My blog is on travelpod with mainly friends following it. Finding my blog on google even if you know what you are searching for is a mission! I want to do a self hosted wordpress blog and would appreciate your opinion on one or two things. Since the only way to migrate from travelpod to wordpress is by ‘copy and paste’ I am thinking of doing it a couple of blogs at a time, how would you suggest I do that? Concidering timeline, order of countries etc. My other question, I am traveling with a dilapitated 2gig netbook, it does not look like I can download wordpress, set up my blog and test it to see if the set up works offline, before paying for a host. Do you think my hardwear will be up to the task? Thanks for your time. Safe Travels

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Campbell – It really depends on your goals. If you really want to try and grow your blog and to take it seriously, then it’s like anything else…you’ll need the proper equipment to make it happen. As for the transfer to WP, I would copy and paste all of the posts and mark them as ‘drafts’ in WP. Then you can publish them a couple of times per week or so.

  3. Pingback: How to Start a Blog 1/5 (getting started and staying motivated)

  4. Vicky

    Great stuff! Especially the part about finding it difficult to take advice! My favourite… ‘you know what you should write about…..’. Sending good vibes from Hampi, India 🙂

  5. Nicola Hilditch-Short

    Brilliant post Earl. I am trying to build up a following but need more experience, I am hoping to use the time I still have in uni to develop my blog for when I do more long term travelling after, I still have a lot to write about but feel it is getting there slowly! Your advice is exactly what I was looking for. Love your blog!

  6. Nina

    Thanks Earl! Helpful advice for those starting out with whole blog thing…. Even though they have been on the road for over 2.5 years already. Ehheem, that’s me 🙂

    Better late than never! Plus I have tons of experience to share now. Yay! Be yourself and not another travel blogger- possibly the best sentence in the whole article. Thanks a lot!

  7. Dan (The Stupid Foreigner)

    Wow, 125 comments, total respect for answering all of them!

    I’d just like to ask my own little question, although I don’t know if you will have much information on it…

    So, I’ve read all the articles about monetizing blogs, and my blog is continuing to grow at an amazing rate. The problem is my blog is about hitchhiking, couchsurfing and all those super low budget topics, and therefore my audience are this type of people who either don’t have, or don’t want to spend money…

    Do you have any suggestions on how I could monetize this kind of audience? I’ve been racking my brain for months and yet to come up with anything successful yet 🙁

    I already know not to expect the kind of money I could get from a blog about luxury travel, but just enough to put a small dent in my tiny living costs would be nice 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dan – That’s an excellent question and to be honest, it’s a difficult one to answer. The best thing to do is to examine exactly what budget travelers do spend their money on and then try to focus on that. You might be able to work out some sponsorship deals or affiliate programs with services/hostels/etc that would be a great match for your audience. I would start by exploring that route and see what kind of ideas you come up. And if I can think of any other tips, I’ll come back here and let you know!

  8. Pamela

    I stumbled upon your blog while doing research on potentially moving to Playa del Carmen. I appreciate the insight you have given on that subject as well as the insight on life in general through other blog posts. I have continued reading your other posts and find them very enjoyable. Thank you for deciding to include the public on your travels! May your travels remain safe!

  9. Rob Voss

    So, it’s 3:53 a.m here in Georgia. I started at 9 p.m when I read your initial “How I Can Afford My Life of Constant Travel” page. (The one Google lead me too when I searched for ways to fund my own travel.) Well I read that, and then went off and read another article and another.. and finally like 2348987676 articles later I’m still engaged. Like you’ve met Taliban members, you met the mayor of some small town in Nebraska, you’ve smoked with a Hindi mayor atop his roof, there’s just sooooooooo much cool stuff you’ve done. Reading about all your adventures really took my initial excitement for traveling, and made it a million times worse. If I could spring out my window today and go I would. Once school is done, you can surely bet that I’ll be out there. If I could pick my 2014 man of the year, it would be you. Not even one day into 2014 yet and I’m already more certain of my lifestyle preference than ever. Thank you soooo much for helping me realize where I really wanted to go in life; everywhere.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Rob – In that case, I shall look forward to meeting you out here in the world somewhere! I’m very happy that the site has helped you figure out what you want to do and as long as you remain focused on that goal, it will happen for sure!

  10. Stuart Forster

    If you look at a typical day (is any day ‘typical’ when you’re out on the road?) how much time do you tend to set aside to write and take care of your blog?
    I guess that requires a lot of discipline when there are so many amazing things you could be out doing, experiencing and enjoying if you weren’t at your keyboard?
    Thanks, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, Earl. Best wishes, Stuart

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Stuart – In general, I now spend an average of about 5 hours per day on the blog and that involves writing, updating various things, working on my Wandering Earl Tours project and also answering the emails I receive each day. And while it does require discipline, I’ve arranged my life so that it’s not so difficult. I’ll travel for a few months and then I’ll stay in one place (Bucharest, Romania has been my base for two years now) for 1 or 2 months in order to get a lot of work done.

  11. Julio Moreno

    Awesome post…it has really made me think (just like the getting high in Yemen post). I have been debating whether or not I should stray away from travel stuff and blog a bit about other things I care about, mainly technology and animals. I think I will give it a try and see if I like it.

    I am curious if you have a list of the technology you use abroad (computer type, camera type… etc).

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Julio – I do have some stuff listed on my Travel Gear (www.wanderingearl.com/travel-resources/travel-gear-list/) page but I will actually be writing a post within the next week that gives a more complete list of what I use.

  12. Rosemary

    “Sometimes I just write plain nonsense because that’s the mood I’m in” – I love this, Earl! Lately I’ve been debating if I have to establish an identity for myself either as a prolific deep thinking writer or a goofy blogger. Your post has convinced me that maybe I don’t have to be one or the other all the time. Great post. Thanks, Earl!

  13. PassportDave

    Not to add anything new but as many others have said, very refreshing post. I have been failing quite miserably at this blogging thing since I have started. Granted, it is probably due to the lack of blogging or too much drinking and sleeping as opposed to paying any attention to the site or possibly just the fact I am trying to go to school full time while also experiencing new places.

    I have finally just come to the conclusion that it is much more important to me that I enjoy my time in these new places; traveling around and riding sharks and what not; than it is to keep up with a blog. The words, “i’ll get to it when I get to it come to mind”. This is probably the biggest realization that I have had.

    One day I hope to achieve some sort of readership but until then, it’s all about living life.

    p.s. Still an amazing blog here and another great post as usual. Keep up the great writing!

    1. Wandering Earl

      @PassportDave – That’s definitely understandable and if you do decide to focus again on the blog, just keep in mind that it is possible to live life and work on the blog. It’s all about how you break up your time, which is why I keep a base in Bucharest these days, why I can spend 3 months traveling non-stop and then 1 month in Bucharest or another destination doing work. This way, I am able to do both and reap the benefits of both as well.

  14. Barbara

    Thanks for writing this great post! You not only inspire but give us much needed advice and first hand experience that can benefit all of us. As a new blogger I found your post very useful, thank you!

  15. Steve

    Earl this is really refreshing to hear. As someone who is looking to “get out” of the 9-5 and do some long term travel, I’ve tried to read everything I can on your site since I discovered it a couple of weeks ago. It’s inspired me to start a blog of my own, but not focused just on travel but on my life and connecting with people, (and while I travel.) You’re definitely inspiring people. Thanks!

  16. Susan

    Thanks for sharing your insight on being a blogger especially while traveling. Whenever I’m constantly traveling I find that it actually is a little hard to have the energy to maintain a site, write, maintain social media and deal with the other workings of blogging all while you’re on the road. It’s so important to stay focused and enjoy doing what you love doing most, like traveling 🙂

  17. Pingback: Travel Writing Round Up [December 2013] - Caroline in the City Travel Blog

  18. Jacqueline

    If I think about it, I don’t think of you as a travel blogger. I think of you as a blogger. As much as I like travel, I like reading about people. When I read your posts, I immediately get the sense that there’s an actual human being with a personality behind those words. Like that post about the bullet (hilarious by the way!), crossing into Pakistan, Syria and Iraq, staying in a hotel that’s basic in the most literal of terms run by an older gentleman, volunteering at the Mother Teresa Home for the Dying, and the things you’ve seen in India…. And that post about Yemen (that’s the #1 spot on my to-travel-to-list).

  19. Jason

    Hey Earl, great and thought provoking post. Since starting our blog about leaving the US for life as permanent nomads we’ve struggled with many of the same questions.

    Are we “travel bloggers” if we stay in one city for a few months? What if our posts offend someone and scare away readers? Are we even doing any of this right?

    In the end we decided just to be ourselves, write about things that interest us in our own voices and if other people like it then that’s an added bonus. If someone eventually wants to give us money for doing it, well that’s even better.

    Whenever I sit down to write a post I imagine the person reading it is someone bored in a cubicle in freezing Kansas City or maybe a person who just sold off all of their belongings and is about to make the leap to full-time traveler. I put myself in their shoes and think, “Is this entertaining?” or “Does this help me?” If I can’t entertain or inspire somebody stuck in a cubicle or provide useful information to a person about something I’ve already done, then what is the point of writing the post? Let’s face it, it’s not very hard to do at least one of those things!

    It’s been about a year now since we started our blog and I still do a little dance every time we get a new comment or email from a reader. It’s extremely humbling when people that we have never met ask us for advice and oh so satisfying when we are able to provide them the information they were looking for. Whether that information is leading to fulfillment of a lifelong dream or just finding a non-touristy restaurant, it is our sincere hope that we are helping out in some small way.

    Thanks again for doing what you do and for being an inspiration to so many of us out here in the “travel-expat-nomad-blogosphere thingy” that we all inhabit.

    Saludos y espero verte pronto,
    Jason

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hola Jason – That’s a great process for writing a post, to truly put yourself in the shoes of your audience and ask such questions about any post idea you may have. And those questions are the right questions to ask in my opinion.

      Looking forward to talking more in person the next time I get to Mexico!

  20. Osvaldo

    Another nice post of yours Earl, but I would like to know first: how do you network on the first place? You can write the best content, but if you have nobody around your blog, how they know about you?

    Congrats and cheers 😉

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Osvaldo – Well, there’s two ways to look at that. First, if you write useful content that the people who do read your site want to share, the word will spread naturally. And slowly, the audience builds and when they share your posts, it builds even more. Secondly, it’s all about being visible. Connecting with people, any people, not just other bloggers. The more people you connect with on social media or just in life in general, the higher the chances that the word will spread about your blog.

      Hand out business cards, email people who are working on projects you like, contact websites or organizations or companies that seem to have a similar mindset as you and just introduce yourself. All it takes is one of these people, who might have a massive audience, to mention you and just like that, your audience grows even more.

  21. Rashad Pharaon

    Great advice and so true – I really believe that if you do what you love and are passionate about, the money will follow. For me, travel blogging is a need to share my experiences and help others make the leap to moving abroad. The money is simply a result of that, but not the main goal.

  22. Sara

    Great post!

    I’m also hesitant to call my blog a travel blog, mostly because I’m not traveling full time yet. I’m studying abroad right now and much of my focus is on international health (which I study). At first I was afraid I would loose potential readers because of too much other posts, but then I decided that I write for myself, so I need to write what’s important to me.

    Thanks for a great post! Continue the good work.

  23. Sara Ko

    Wonderful advice. I’ve recently been tapping into and feeling a huge connection to the blogging community lately. I used to want to narrow myself down too much too, but as you said: “just be yourself!” Thanks and keep blogging Earl!

  24. Megan

    What a refreshing post to read in regards to blogging. I feel like so many bloggers (and travel bloggers in particular) mainly approach it from a negative angle. Your approach definitely seems like a healthier, happier way to view things 😉 I love reading your posts because they never exude that “I’m soo much cooler than you” attitude- just a conversational guy talking about his life. I really dig that.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Megan – That’s always what I strive for because at the end of the day, this is just my lifestyle, not any better than anyone else’s, just the way my life has turned out so far!

  25. Stephen

    Interesting advice in regards to thinking of yourself as a blogger, not just a travel blogger. I guess my mistake has been always thinking of myself as a travel blogger. It would open me to a wider audience if I can be more than a travel blogger and write about more than just travel.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Stephen – There’s no mistakes, that’s for sure. Everything evolves all the time, we always need to make adjustments and it’s never too late to alter the way we write. If you’re comfortable sharing more about your life apart from travel, I’m certain that your audience would be interested….you can always try it out!

  26. Russell Mease

    Earl,

    You mentioned that writing doesn’t always come naturally to you. I go through the same thing, often spending 3 days (4-5 hrs/day) on a post, and then practically trashing it because I read in a book by London or Kerouac, and feel hopeless that my writing will never live up to that standard. And then, I click POST and get fantastic feedback because I am providing the reader interesting content, even if my writing pros isn’t up to snuff. Thanks for being so transparent and allowing yourself to be vulnerable at the same time, it makes you human and keeps me coming back. -Russ

  27. Sneha

    Though I’m not a traveller myself, I love reading about places and cultures I don’t know about… I’ve subscribed to god-knows-how-many travel related blogs but your’s is the only one I’ve been following regularly. I guess that’s because your writing has that personal and honest touch to it and it doesn’t exude that I’m-a-professional-traveller feel too often!
    And somehow you don’t make me feel like a jealous kid having to listen to a friend raving about his/her wonderful summer trip! It’s like you honestly want to share an experience rather than simply talking about the wonderful time you had. Your posts are often reflective… Loved the ones you wrote about tourism in Bali and the rickshawallah in Delhi… N some of your posts are hillarious…like the one about chewing Qat in Yemen!
    In short, I absolutely enjoy reading your blog. So thank you!
    Cheers!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sneha – Thank you so much for that comment and I really appreciate you being a reader! Everyone’s just living their own life out there, noone better than anyone else, so I’m just trying to show how my particular lifestyle works and how I see the world as a result.

  28. Francis Cassidy

    Great post Earl!
    I recently started a travel blog which is still very much in the doldrums! So it’s great go hear your story. One thing that did surprise me is the limited time you spend on social media. It seems many travel bloggers are glued to it 24/7, so it’s good to hear that it’s not the be all and end all!
    I think the most important point that I take from your post is being yourself. I think that’s vital and something I try and do myself.

    One question: When you started out initially, did you have trouble trying to balance your time between travel and work (writing, social media and all the other hassle thst comes with starting a blog)? Did you find yourself often in interesting places that you were dying to explore more but couldn’t as the blog required so much time?
    Thanks!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Francis – If I was glued to social media 24/7, I would burn out and go insane in a very short period of time. Admittedly, I did spend more time on it when I first started blogging and it did help of course. But as things started rolling along, I realized that it wasn’t too healthy for me to spend so much time on it.

      And when I started out (to answer your question) I was actually living in Mexico for a few months, so I was in one place. That’s actually why I started the blog at that time, thinking that I would have 3 months without moving around to just concentrate on getting the site up and running. After that, it was a bit of struggle but still, I would go out and explore during the day and then work until really late at night in order to try and grow the blog. I definitely didn’t want to sacrifice actual travel time!

  29. Troy's Gone Walkabout

    Hi,
    I just stumbled onto this blog via EuroTravelogue, and I have to say this was one hell of a first post to chance upon. If the rest of your content is as genuine as this (compared to, say, the “7 essential things every blogger must do or else they’ll die a horrible death of pity and self-doubt” or similar that abounds on the Web these days), I may find myself perusing here a bit more often!

  30. Nita

    Another wonderful post, Earl. What you said does make sense. In fact, I had a headache before reading the post and it’s now better 😀 We are constantly bombarded with so many pointers and must-dos in order to be a successful blogger. But I truly feel too, that it boils down to how unique you are, and what could be more unique as someone being themself. Our stories and experiences are all different and that’s the magic we all want to read about or share. Anyways, thanks for putting things into perspective!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Nita – I’m glad that this post cured your headache 🙂 And what you wrote is a perfect summary of exactly what I think is important!

  31. Amanda Boleman

    Earl,

    Thank you so much for this post. As a new blogger, I’ve reading up on so many “How-To” posts that I could poke my eyeballs out. This was the first really human piece I’ve read on the subject and found myself relating to it on so many levels. When my boyfriend Casey and I were first starting The Travallure, I kept saying that I wanted to be a lifestyle blogger, not simply a travel blogger, because I didn’t want to limit myself in that way. The way I see it, people read blogs because they find a connection with the writer. The more we can see of that person’s lifestyle, the more we feel connected to them and want to keep up with what they’re doing. Couple that with your commitment to interact with readers and you truly have a winning formula.

    xxx Amanda, The Travallure
    https://www.thetravallure.com

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Amanda – Seems like you figured out one of the key aspects as well and being a lifestyle blogger or a blogger without any limitations will certainly make a difference. And without that connection, like you said, it is difficult to convince readers to stick around.

  32. George Bezushko

    Earl, although I’m not always traveling, my life has been spent either preparing to get to the next place or trying to stop where I belong. After years of traveling, it is not often I find someone who can write or express a sensitivity of the world as I see it. It is rare that I do not find an article of interest. You don’t write about the journey to places, but rather the exploration of thoughts and feelings. You teach, you share, you write as tho it is from my own heart. I appreciate your honesty, and your wandering soul.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey George – And I absolutely appreciate you reading this site. In my opinion, the important things to write about are not the destinations themselves, it is the feelings we have, the challenges we face, the lessons we learn, the thoughts we have that truly makes life interesting. So I’m really happy to know that you’ve been enjoying that kind of writing style.

  33. Chelsea

    That comment was supposed to be in reply to “Traveling Firefighter”‘s comment.

    Anyway, congratulations on 4 years of blogging, Earl. I absolutely loved this post, as always (I feel like I say that every time I comment). Fantastic advice. Your readers love you because you’re “real” – we all feel like we know you and can relate to you and you continuously inspire us to do what we love. I respect you in so many ways but especially admire the fact that you do take the time to respond to every email you receive in detail – it’s incredibly impressive. In this way, your readers also know you care about them. Yours is one of only two blogs I follow and read every post – and I plan to be a reader as long as you are blogging! 🙂

  34. Chelsea

    “I’ve yet to find one other site (perhaps one other only) that has compelled me to WANT to give back to the blogger in such a way. With tons of blogs out there, I think that says a lot.”

    I could not agree more!!!

  35. Cheryl Cholley

    Wonderful advice and great thought process. I think being yourself is the best gift you can give your readers. If somebody wanted to read bland cardboard-flavored text, there are plenty of places to find that type of reading. Personality is what makes your blog so special. Keep up the good work.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Cheryl – I agree that personality is an important aspect of writing, especially with such blogs. Without it, the information provided is just another piece of information that is most likely out there already.

  36. Andrea

    Great advice as always. Your blog has always been a standout for me and I love the way you communicate with your readers. I do agree we each need to find our own way in the blogging world and do what is best for ourselves and our readers, not what all the ‘top bloggers’ say we should be doing.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Andrea – Advice is good but copying a certain style is not a wise choice in my opinion. Glad you agree as it does make a difference!

  37. Mikeachim

    Brilliant advice. I’m going to copy this approach *exactly*.

    Oh.

    More seriously – yes. The people who have rock-solid reputations within travel blogging that are reaching outside travel blogging are the ones who have developed an exceptional relationship with their readers, and as a result, they’re trusted. That’s the word for success, I think. If readers trust your advice and it’s really *good* advice, readers will go nuts over everything you do.

    Trust builds loyalty and trust also makes money, which is something easily overlooked in the race to build an income. Trust is the great invisible metric of true engagement. And it’s easy to see by reading the comments here. 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Mike – Ha…I knew you would 🙂

      I absolutely agree about the importance of trust. Not enough people take that into consideration when trying to figure out how to grow a business, project or website. That’s what I look for in other sites so it seemed reasonable to try and create that kind of environment here.

  38. Fiona

    Great post. When I started my blog I hoped to update it more. However, the temperamental African internet put paid to that. (OK, I’m not completely blameless!)

    I mostly started my blog to stop having to send massive group emails. This way people can follow what I’m doing and I can send more personal emails.

  39. Lisa

    Thanks so much for this blog post…it has made me relax and stop putting myself under so much pressure to tick all of the possible ‘be a great blogger’ boxes out there!

    After blogging for 30 months, for MYSELF and finding (rather shockingly) that others are interested in reading my ramblings I have decided to try ‘learn’ a little and am becoming a little overwhelmed by it all.

    Thanks for saying its ok to just carry on regardless and learn as you go!
    Also I’m intrigued by the above mentioned travel in Iraq, heading to check it now, we are considering trying to arrange a wedding there! I may be in touch again soon!

    Thanks again, Lisa

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Lisa – Glad you figured out that you can indeed just be yourself, keep on writing and adjust as you progress. If there’s too much pressure, it won’t work because your head won’t be thinking clearly and the results won’t be what you truly want to write.

  40. Dalene

    As always, you speaketh of wisdom and truth. You are, without a doubt, the best blogger out there (travel or not!) and I’m also so pleased to call you a friend. Whenever anyone asks me what you are like, I say that you are as genuine in person as you come across on your blog, and that is all any of us can hope to be.

    I can relate to you not considering yourself a travel blogger as Pete and I often have that discussion too. We consider whatever destination we are in as the “third character” in our life story. 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dalene – That’s a fantastic way to look at it, I like that a lot. And of course, it shows in your own posts as well. Now, all we need to do is figure out a way to meet up in person more often…would be great to see you guys again in the near future!

  41. Noor - Desert to Jungle

    Great post. You’ve been very helpful to me recently with basic technical advice which I know can probably be quite tiresome as I’m still so clueless about the whole issue. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me out. And of course I love your blog 🙂

  42. Lars Zeekaf

    I think your words of ”do it your way, be yourself” are one of the most important things to learn from another great post! Happy to pass by again Earl. And Earl, my girlfriend sitting next to me just asked me how old you actually are? (Don’t know if I have to worry or anything…)

    All the best Lars!

  43. Dil

    Thanks once again for the thorough and amazingly useful and motivating post. It is often a challenge in readin through something especially if one has a short life span on focusing (got this from all the online distractions), but once you get to the last paragraph thats all worth it. Keep writing as it does help many.

  44. Jacqui

    Hi Earl, you earn’t my respect by answering my email when I, a newbie, nervously sent a request to a few popular ‘travel bloggers’ to feature in interviews on my site. Even though it didn’t work out with yourself, you at least replied, and that just meant to much to me 🙂 Congratulations on your 4 years on the road!!
    Jacqui

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jacqui – I remember your emails of course and hope that your interview series has gone well! It’s great to have you over here as a reader too 🙂

  45. Philip

    What a wonderful breath of fresh air. After five years of travel and three years of writing a blog I am at that point of asking where I want to go with it all. Like you, I really like to put an emphasis on just getting out and experiencing my life. I love how you seem to have found the balance between that and writing your blog. I could not agree more that one needs to put people (readers) first and monetization (although necessary to live) significantly further down the list.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Philip – If you keep at it and keep thinking about your blog from different angles, eventually you find the right balance and the right style for you. Or, sometimes people realize that blogging isn’t for them and that’s fine too. As long as you do what feels right, you’re all set.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Maria – Thank you and it’s been absolutely wonderful communicating with you over the past couple of years???!!!

  46. Gaelyn

    Once again, your total honesty comes through. That’s why we, or at least I, keep coming back. I started blogging for the fun of sharing my lifestyle and travels, people liked it and I’ve made some great friends. Although I’d like to be sponsored for some of my travels I Won’t cover my sidebar with advertising useless to my readers. I have only followed your blog for about a year and am very impressed. I hope you won’t mind that I linked to your blog in a recent post about types of travelers. Keep up the good.

  47. Lynnette Hoffman

    What a reassuring post! I only just started my blog 3 months ago, but I have spent a lot of time stressing about the little details, before finally coming to the same conclusion as you: I can’t confine myself to writing about one topic, and I’ve never been a convention-follower in any aspect of my life, so not sure how this would be any different?!
    Recently I was reading Jon Morrow’s GuestBlogging site and he put out an offer to give tailored advice/critique– I sent in an email and when his assistant replied, I felt like it was a huge mistake at this early stage in my blogging life. I am still experimenting, learning what works and what doesn’t, both for me and for my readers– and he was ALL about honing in on a very specific niche and his feedback felt discouraging.
    However, his reply to the travel writer who commented just above me was very similar, and I clicked on her blog and really enjoyed it and made a new connection. She wrote a great post about the encounter that made me smile: https://colleenfriesen.com/blog/2013/11/13/how-to-build-the-biggest-baddest-blog-ever/#comments
    Thanks for a great, encouraging post. Now to create some viral content…;-)

  48. Red Hunt

    Great post man.
    It’s easy to get caught up in the “what everyone else is doing” storm. Sticking with your own style and interests…whether that be travel or a mix of things is the way to go. I don’t post here often but do enjoy reading your blog….you do have a great style for connecting with other bloggers. Keep it up!

    1. Wandering Earl

      @Red Hunt – Well, I certainly do thank you for being a reader and I appreciate you taking a moment to comment on this post!

  49. Sam Elliott

    Great post Earl. I like your point about not just being a ‘travel blogger.’ Your blog was one of the sites that encouraged me to start my own when we began travelling in October this year. I set out with the intention of using the blog to just keep intouch with family and friends, but I now have a small handful of people I don’t know reading it from all over the world – it’s very exciting. I agree that you should only write for the reader and not potential advertisers etc, otherwise what’s the point?
    I look forward to your updates and I’m never dissapointed, they’re always a great read.
    Sam.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sam – That’s excellent to hear about your own blog! You never know what can happen and that handful of people can suddenly turn into a bigger handful and on and on…just keep writing in your own style 🙂

  50. Erin

    Thank you for your well-timed article! I was getting overwhelmed and turning into a defeatist from all the research for the blog I’ve been talking about starting for 3 years now. Of course that research led me to your blog, which is one of my favorites and I’ve enjoyed following you! I was actually trying to figure out the direction or tone I wanted to take with my blog and you reaffirmed that the best choice is keeping it about your life with a changing background and players. Because while I’ll be exploring a new country solo, its really about my own evolution in this next year and simply talking about missing a train or how to exchange my money or how to pack, isn’t me. Yawn….

    I’ve debated the concept to go somewhat explicit or controversial in my posts because I’m pretty direct and open and have good stories to tell versus being family friendly for advertisers. But as you advised, maybe I just don’t worry about that. I think if I’m able to sell the story, the advertising ideas and opportunities will follow..whether that’s for adult toys, hipster albums or trusty backpacks. 😛 Now if only getting mom not to follow it….

    Thanks again and see ya somewhere round the rock!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Erin – Just write what you feel most comfortable writing and see where it all leads…you never know what kind of opportunities will present themselves and there are opportunities no matter what your writing style.

  51. Michele

    I have spent the last few years blogging on a travel site for our holidays, when we decided to become long term travellers we decided to start our own blog. Our aim is to show that people of all ages can travel and hopefully inspire others to get out there plus of course have something for our children, family and friends to look at and see what we are up to . We are looking forward to getting on the plane next month amd starting our journey. Whatever pur blog becomes will be forever evolving I am sure

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Michele – Congrats on the upcoming trip! I have no doubt it will be full of rewarding adventures, which you’ll be able to share to your audience.

  52. Andy Tope

    Cool bananas Earl! Thank you for such a great post, your helpful advice and your down-to-earth attitude. It seems like you are really happy doing what you are doing. I hope to run into you in the jungle one day.
    Andy.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Andy – I’m sure we’ll run into each other at some point, meeting up with people happens more often than most would think!

  53. Laura

    This is really helpful advice. Yes, there are thousands of travel bloggers out there but only one Wandering Earl. All of my favorite bloggers (travel or otherwise) show their personality, as you do. In my own blogging I always try to think about adding value with every post, about why anyone would want to read it, about what sets it apart. Sometimes it’s not an easy question to answer but it’s the most important thing. I’ve learned that people follow and relate to the person behind the blog and you are doing a great job putting yourself out there and being unique!

    1. Ryan from Jets Like Taxis

      “…but only one is Wandering Earl.” EXACTLY.

      That’s the biggest thing for me, and he mentioned this in his post: It’s about being yourself. The main reason I follow this blog is because he’s himself. He’s genuine. And that means a lot to me when there are a zillion blogs out there to pick from and regularly read.

      I’m always on the lookout for new blogs to read, but I have a core of less than a dozen for which I read every single post. And all of those people are nice and genuine. You don’t have to know someone personally to believe in something like that. These traits come through in writing, and come through even more so in how people interact with their readers.

      And that’s the thing I love most about this guy.

    2. Wandering Earl

      Hey Laura – Exactly, people do follow the person as a writer who is more personal on their site offers a unique perspective on so many topics. You can choose between providing only information, information which is probably out there already or providing personal experience, something that only each individual person can have.

  54. Anna McPherson

    Hi Earl

    Great post, again! I have been struggling with the myriad of information on blogging, do it this way, do it that way, don’t do this or that…

    It is seriously overwhelming, and often my brain does hurt. I’ve only been involved in blogging and social media since July, and yes, the social media can be massively time consuming. I have only recently worked out that the only way to be productive on the blog is to close the social media windows!!!

    I work full time, but my passion is my blog, as I thoroughly enjoy travel, the experiences you come away with, and then giving back to the community by writing about it. For me, it’s a creative outlet.

    This post has reiterated how important it is to not get bogged down by it all, because if we did, we wouldn’t have much time to do anything else!

    I really enjoy reading your posts as they are full of truth, not trying to sell anything or the like.

    Congratulations on your 4th year 🙂

    Anna

    1. Wandering Earl

      Thank you Anna and you’re right, if our blog takes all of our time, then we won’t be out there experiencing life and in turn, having things to write about on that blog. It’s all about balance!

  55. Patrick Hearn

    I agree completely with you, Earl — I tried to start a travel blog, but failed. There were several reasons, the foremost of which was that I wasn’t traveling. Second of all, I tried to follow entirely too much advice from other sources, but none of it worked for me. Maybe I didn’t stick to it, but I didn’t feel passionate about it. I wanted the blog to serve as a place that people could join me on my adventure, if they wanted — not as a place where I could include the five best restaurants in New York or wherever.

    The blog, as it happened, got hacked — turned into a sales page for Turkish viagra, of all things. So now I’m gearing up to actually leave on my trip in less than 9 months, and I’m starting the blog back up. I’ll make some changes to it, and this time, I’m going to write about the things I care about, and let it serve its original purpose.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Patrick – That seems like a wise plan to me…and keep trying new angles until you do find a style that leaves you feeling passionate about your site. You can write about whatever you want to write.

  56. Chris

    Great post mate and sums up all of my thinkings on running/managing and growing a blog. More awesome however is that you still have that photo from Istanbul where we found that bloggers sign.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Chris – Haha! As I was looking for a photo for this post, I suddenly remembered that one and thought it was perfect. I’ve been to Istanbul several times since then and every time I pass by that place (just passed by it 2 weeks ago) I always let out a little laugh.

  57. Owen Lipsett

    Thank you for your wisdom Earl! As always I feel like what you’re really offering isn’t so much advice about travel or blogging, but rather life itself. The reason I read every post you write as soon as I’m aware of it isn’t to learn about travel (although they do serve that purpose), but rather because you tell a compelling story. In your posts, your replies to comments, and the correspondence I feel incredibly fortunate to have had with you, you offer a unique way of living and seeing the world. Thank you for sharing it!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Owen – That’s great to hear because that’s what I feel as well. While I happen to be traveling, it’s just another lifestyle in the end and no matter what we do in life, we all face similar challenges along the way. It’s been great having you as a reader and I certainly do appreciate the loyalty!

  58. Traveling Firefighter

    You had me at “hello” Earl. What I mean by that is that I got sucked in to your blog due to the fact you answered an email I sent to you shortly after I found your blog about 2.5 years ago. You not only answered me, but I remember you answered very quickly and it was filled with good advice. I’ve always been impressed by that and to respect your time, I have only since emailed once or twice, when absolutely necessary.

    For what it’s worth, I felt so compelled to give back to you for answering me that I ordered your ebook ($27 if I remember correctly) which I really just skimmed over and never really “needed” in the first place. Of course, at the time I thought you were basically just getting by and wanted to help a little but I don’t regret it in the least. You give out enough truly valuable info on your site to justify giving back. I’ve yet to find one other site (perhaps one other only) that has compelled me to WANT to give back to the blogger in such a way. With tons of blogs out there, I think that says a lot.

    Keep up the great work.

    Traveling Firefighter

    1. Wandering Earl

      @Traveling Firefighter – I remember your emails as well of course and it was always great communicating with you! And I remember you purchasing my eBook, which I was very grateful of. That, and your comments above certainly mean a great deal to me. Still hoping to meet you at some point!

  59. Sab

    Wonderful post (as always). You were one of the first bloggers I discovered last year before I started my own travel blog. My blog turns 1 year this week and it has been a great journey. I visited hundreds of travel blogs before to get inspiration and ideas and honestly, you were one of the very few bloggers I visited on a regular basis. Why? Because your posts are incredibly helpful. Writing posts with a value is the best advice you can give to a blogger!
    Thank you so much for all your help! You’re one of my favorite bloggers 🙂

    Congrats to your 4 years anniversary!

  60. David DiGregorio

    Great advice Earl! It’s actually advise most print publications can learn from. Advertising isn’t by any means evil, but when placed above the needs of the reader it’s counterproductive in the long-term. Well done.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey David – That’s very true. It’s definitely not evil when done correctly and when aimed at providing value as well. There are plenty of things that I highly recommend and have mentioned or have accepted an ad for simply because I believe in the product/service and think that others would as well.

  61. Kendal

    What you said about labeling your blog as a travel blog made me nod my head in agreement. When I started my current blog I thought “my life is so much more than travel, and I’ll still have things to say even when I’m in one place for a long time,” so I decided to call it an adventure blog instead of a travel blog. Speaking of which, it’s about time to write a new post…

  62. Kle

    Guess what? i am a travel blogger too!
    And i dont want to comment on your points about blogging which are, clearly, all true.

    I just want to say something simple.
    When i was planning to travel indefinitely and become a travel blogger i subscribed to all the major travel blogs out there.

    In the beginning i used to read all the newsletters i received from all of them.

    Now i dont have time to do so.
    I only just reas ALL the newsletters and new posts from 3 specific websites.

    One of those is yours.
    I like it because it is straightforward, honest, and your personality stands out in each post, being informative or just a rant. I even enjoyed the post where you stated that yoy didnt have anything yo say that day!

    This is what people love, true people behind the screen.

    With this in mind i try my best to follow the good examples. Which means being myself in each post i write and provide value.

    Thank you for the example you give in each post you write!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kle – Wow, I’m honestly honored that this is a blog you do follow as I know how it can be to receive so many updates from so many blogs! And that’s funny you mentioned that post about not having anything to say…I remember writing it and wondering if I would lose a lot of readers from that one. Luckily, I have something to say most of the time.

      And keep up the great work on your own blog as well 🙂

  63. Emily

    I enjoy your blog because you are so honest – and this is such a great post. When I started my blog I was initially worried about putting in the ‘correct’ bells and whistles and how to appeal to readers, but I’ve come to realize that, if anything, the blog is really for me and a way to journal about the happenings in my life. If others decide to follow along, that’s just a happy bonus!

  64. Dominic Cowell

    Hi Earl,

    Really excellent post – I am creating a blog myself at the moment; I have the domain, and a small amount of content to start (I don’t want any empty pages!). Mine is mainly going to be to inform family and friends of how I am getting on, but I am also hoping to help other people to travel (there are certain regions that I intend to visit that I personally struggled to find information on!)

    Got to say wanderingearl is without doubt my favourite blog to read; so I have definitely tried to look at your pages and see what I like (and what I don’t). I definitely think it is important to be creative as possible, and not to write for the sake of writing (I’ve wrote three draft articles so far, and have published one). I am hoping to raise some money over the next year; not to sustain my travel for longer (I have a University offer for next September), but just to pay for my hosting fees and domain.

    Excellent article as always, Earl!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dominic – Seems like you have a good plan in place for getting your blog off the ground. Doing so much thinking now will certainly help eliminate some of the challenges once you start. And of course, if you have any questions at any time, just let me know and I’ll offer any advice I can!

  65. Christina Gmyr

    I loved reading this! I’m a blogger myself [thanks mainly to you – you definitely inspired me to start :)] and I’m starting to struggle with whether or not to accept advertising on my blog, but I think you’re right in that it’s better to think about building an audience in the long term.

    Happy blogversary! 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Christina – It’s a tough decision I know. But as Dave said above, advertising is not evil. You just need to do it right. If you find something that you truly believe in and you think your readers would benefit from, then why not advertise it?

      Hope you’re doing well by the way!!

  66. Dave

    Do you remember the first blog or website that inspired you to say “I want to create one too?”

    For me, it was Luke’s Hippy Dippy Travelogue, which I found online back in 1998, before taking my first backpacking trip (to Europe). Reading about his adventures, and seeing them online back then, in the early days of the internet, it was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, “I want one (a website about my travels) too!”

    So I taught myself basic HTML and transcribed my European journal online. I still remember being surprised and honored that people would read the entire (uncensored) thing.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Dave – I have no doubt that if I had found Luke’s Hippy Dippy Travelogue, I would have been inspired as well! I don’t remember the first blog I found actually…I started after a friend of mine told me about many of the blogs he followed and suggested that I start one too.

  67. Harish

    I couldn’t agree with you more on the social media overkill. Spending a lot of time on social media on various social platforms does not get results…good content that adds value to the readers is something that gets results and builds your authority on the subject. Too much social media initially is good for engagement so that you can build a list of connections, followers etc. but once you have sufficient connections in place, just syndicating your blog content to the social media platform using tools like HootSuite does the trick. This way your posts automatically gets posted on various social media platforms with least amount of work. Other things pointed out by you like content copy or simulating other people…I say that you should always play your game by your own rules. If you mimic others, you are playing their game without understanding the rules…this is a sure shot way of disaster. People who build on their uniqueness will never fail and no one will be able to catch up with them. Happens to me a lot of times and every time I come stronger than my competition. Lastly I think that having targeted adverts that help the readers are better than having AdSense ads.
    Overall I think that this is one of your best posts that I have read so far. Wish you all the best.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Harish – Thanks for that and yes, simplifying social media does seem like a good approach. Getting too overwhelmed does not lead to good results at all.

  68. Victoria

    Hi Earl, this is such an interesting post. Thank you and many congratulations.
    You have been one of the bloggers that I have been watching closely merely because I like your blogging style: You make me laugh and smile and your headlines always want to make me read more!
    Before I started my blog I had read so many posts of how important it was to develop “a niche” but you know what? I racked my brains but couldn’t find one as my life keeps changing over time. In the end I decided to go for “lifestyle” which suits me well and as you say, covers pretty much everything!
    Well done!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Victoria – If that’s what works, then go for it! No rules at all. And I’m glad to hear you enjoy the blog as well 🙂

  69. Kim

    I don’t consider myself a travel blogger either. I think it’s why my audience sticks around. I write about my life, what I learn, experience, how I screw up and how I succeed… that’s just life. And I travel, so many stories are based in exotic locations, but that’s just sort of the lens that I tell my stories through. Also Earl, I think that one reason you are really successful is because you are genuine and that comes through in your writing. People like you so the keep reading.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Kim – Yes, writing about mistakes and challenges is very important in my opinion because we all make and face them no matter what we are doing in life. And writing about them is an honest approach that can also help others when they are in similar situations. If you don’t talk about the mistakes and issues faced in life, it’s not the complete story.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Matthew – Absolutely…I was actually just talking about you two days ago with a friend of mine and I was saying that it would be great to meet up with you again somewhere!

  70. Jeff @ planetbell

    I really like how you consider yourself a blogger and not a “travel” blogger. I never thought of it that way but I can see how that is quite freeing.

    I have been reading this blog for about 18 months I think, and I like your conversational style you have with the reader, the practical advice you give and the fact that you have gone to some very out of the way destinations like North Korea, Yemen and Iraq.

    Congratulations on your 4 year anniversary and good luck with the next four.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jeff – Thank you sir! And in the beginning when I did consider myself a travel blogger, I remember staring at my laptop for hours and hours trying to think about a specific travel-related topic to write about. It wasn’t easy. Once I eliminated the word ‘travel’ from the ‘travel blogger’ category, the ideas started flowing more easily at times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *