Welcome! It is really exciting to write this first post in what I hope will become a dynamic community of travel bloggers, ready to help each other succeed. Many of you may already know me as the author of Todds Wanderings. If you know me from there you might be asking yourself, what the heck are you doing creating another website? Dont you have enough to do with blogging, writing 3 books, and working full time for the United Nations?
While the danger of pulling myself in too many directions is certainly real, there is an even greater danger of just going in the wrong direction in general. Like many of you, I have heard (well, read) all the hype how we can earn money for traveling by blogging. How its possible to create a location independent lifestyle, travel the world and get paid to do it. Sounds nice right? Who wouldnt get caught up in this dream. It pulls at all the right emotional hooks, freedom, travel, escaping the 9-5 grind, becoming rich doing something we love. The question is, is it true? Is blogging, and more specifically travel blogging, a viable way to earn enough money to survive and support our travels?
What we are all about
The Travel Blog Challenge was created to answer this very question. It was created to shed some light and transparency on the travel blogging and lifestyle design worlds (yup, lifestyle designers are welcome too!). The Travel Blog Challenge was also created to help prejudge the answer, a place to gather together, network, to help each other out and succeed in an ethical way. Thats right, no spammers here, just a way to help travel bloggers develop sustainable online incomes.
1000-1000 Travel Blog Challenge
One of the main tools here on the TBC is the 1000-1000 Challenge. The aim of the Challenge (beside being the source of the blogs name) is to give everyone a goal to reach, as well as to help us create a standard in determining travel blogging success. This is how well be able to answer if travel blogging really is viable, and how to go about it.
Im not going to lie, this is not easy and will take a significant commitment, and a lot of time. But if youre willing to put in the effort then were willing to help you. Ill also be in it with you. To sign up for the challenge visit the link above, but to see where it all started visit this post. I was amazed at the number of bloggers who thought it was a great idea, asked for my advice on building a successful blog, and were just stumbling around with no clear goal. In response I decided to expand the challenge to something greater than just my own personal goal.
Articles and Advice on Building a Successful Travel Blog
Besides tapping into our competitive spirits, TBC is also dedicated to furthering the Travel Blog world and finding the best ways to succeed. There is a lot written on the web about how to build a successful blog, from the nuts and bolts of web design, to finding an audience, to monetizing to the dreaded SEO. There is also a wealth of information floating around in other industries, such as marketing, public relations and tour companies. The TBC is dedicated to sharing the most useful advice on all of these topics and how they can help us all.
Knowing that we all have creative advice and hard earned experience to share, TBC is open to guest bloggers. So if you have useful tips or advice on anything related to increasing readership, monetizing, SEO, nuts and bolts, or cool things I havent heard about yet, check out how to write for Travel Blog Challenge.
One of the ultimate goals of the Travel Blog Challenge is to create a Network of successful travel bloggers that we can leverage to increase all of our online incomes. Ive been nothing but impressed with the willingness of the travel blog community to help each other out. Well approach advertisers and spread the wealth throughout the group. You wont have to wait until you complete the 1000-1000 Challenge to become a member. After all, the purpose of the TBC is to prove we can succeed, and to help you succeed. But you will have to commit to being a part of the group and helping others out. So to become a full blown member you have to do four things:
1) Start the 1000-1000 Challenge (click here to get started)
2) Register in the Forums and participate for 3 months (yes, Ill be able to tell)
3) Have an average visitor rate of 0ver 200/day for the past 2 month (as judged by Google Analytics)
4) Promote the heck out of your fellow travel bloggers
Once you have all four contact me and youll be added to the TBC Network List (yay, more promotion), and youll be able to write a Member Post to introduce yourself and your blog. This way well ensure that Members are committed, and potential advertisers can be assured of our quality.
Commitment to Honesty and Transparency
Unfortunately, its very easy to trick people on the internet. The TBC is my answer to this trickery. We are not trying to employ emotional hooks, and promises of instant wealth with no work. What we are promising is complete honesty regarding what it takes to succeed as a travel blogger, if its even possible. I will be using Todds Wanderings as a case study and will share what has worked, what has failed, and where I stand with earnings and visitors. Anyone else who wants to do the same is free to post as well once they are a Member (although guest posting is welcome anytime).
I know, I know, this is a very ambitious plan for a new website. Thats OK, slow and steady is fine with me. and the site will evolve slowly as I add content, functions, and our membership grows. I have been blogging for the past 4 years and while Ive learned that quality takes time, Ive also learned that great things can happen quickly. If we succeed I have even more plans include: a space to promote travel and writing competitions, a jobs board to connect bloggers with those who need content and companies looking for reviews.
Excited? I am. Id love to hear what you think below in the comments.
*I would love for you to provide as much feedback, advice and even criticism as you can muster. This is a community site and it depends on its members to be successful, whether this if with guest posts or interaction in the forums, promoting each others sites, or suggesting new ways to grow. Leave your ideas below in the comments, or better yet get involved and help out. This is your site too.