Matt Burns

Award Winning Blogger, Writer & Travel Marketer

The Travel Blogging Experiment

You might not have realised it yet, but this blog is all part of a big experiment.

Welcome to the Travel Blogging Experiment.

I started this blog as an experiment to see whether it is still possible, amidst the thousands of new travel blogs that are created every year, to ‘make it’ as a travel blogger.

A lot of people say that it’s not.

There are big names and well respected bloggers and marketers out there who will tell you not to even waste your time trying. For the vast majority of people, it’s just never going to happen.

A couple of years ago, an article by Chris Appleford published over on Problogger.com caused a big stir in the travel blogging world.

The piece was called “Why You Should NOT Start A Travel Blog” and it was a no punches pulled affront on the glamour and allure of the travel blogging world.

Did he have a good point?

Well…yeah. He had lots of them.

Let’s take a quick look at what new travel bloggers are up against.

  • More competition than ever before. Noone really knows how many active travel bloggers there are, but almost everyone would agree, this is one heavily saturated market.
  • Starting a blog has never been easier. The barriers to entry have never been lower. More and more new travel blogs are appearing every single day.

Then, of course, there’s always heaps of reasons not to start any blog at all.

“Starting a travel blog has never been easier. Starting a successful travel blog has never been harder.”

Whatever way you cut it, this was always going to be a tough experiment.

A large part of me thinks that all of those experts are probably right. Maybe it really is too difficult to make it as a newbie travel blogger now.

But when it comes to marketing, you really shouldn’t take anything on face value.

This experiment will put those theories to the test. I want to know if it’s actually still possible to build a successful travel blog, from scratch, and actually make a living from it.

The Strategy

As with all things digital marketing, it’s going to come down to a two pronged approach.

Content development and content promotion.

Content Development.

If I’m going to succeed in breaking through all of this noise, I’m going to have to bring something unique to the table.

That’s not going to be easy in such a crowded space where every destination has been written about over and over and over again.

I’ll have to find new angles and approaches, and ways to put my own spin on the places I write about.

I’m going to focus on writing genuinely new, helpful, insightful and compelling content. Well researched, readable stuff that actually answers the questions people are asking instead of just the same old rehashed stuff.

Content that adds some value to the conversation, rather than just another voice.

Content Promotion.

If I’m being honest, this is the part that worries me most.

In all of my previous digital marketing projects, I’ve always had at least a small budget for content promotion.

This time though, I’m giving myself nothing.

I’m a travel blogger, just like you, and I’m bootstrapping this thing from the ground up.

That means no ads, no social media boosting, no paid features. Nada.

It means hard work and a lot of hustle.

I’m allowing myself the bare minimum of startup spend. A domain name and some very cheap and basic no thrills shared hosting.

Before the blog starts racking up any further costs, it needs to start paying its way.

Tracking Progress

Quantifying this stuff is going to be difficult, since the goals are highly subjective. Everyones version of ‘success’ and ‘liveable wage’ is different.

So to help with that, I’m going to be publishing a monthly Growth Report which will outline exactly how the blog is performing month on month.

Traffic, growth, income. It’ll all be there, clear to see. No BS, just complete transparency.

So you can make your own mind up about how things are going.

You can click here to view all of my past Growth Reports and read exactly what I’ve done each month to grow the blog.

Some Final Words

One of the things I love about digital marketing is that challenge of it. It’s rarely easy.

This experiment though, is going to be one of my toughest to date.

A big part of me thinks that all those experts are probably right. I mean, it’s difficult to argue with numbers like that. So many new travel bloggers enter the fray every day…I’m just not sure if creating something new and unique is totally possible, let alone enough.

On the other hand, I read plenty of successful travel blogs by people who are just churning out mediocre content, rehashing the same old stuff. If they can do it, why can’t I?

So let’s see whether all those experts know what they’re talking about. Or whether all the travel bloggers out there flying the flag for location independence and telling everyone to start their own travel blog are really onto something.

Over To You

I want to finish off by saying a heartfelt thankyou to each and every one of you who are following along with me on this journey.

Without you this experiment would be a non-starter. Dead in the water.

If you’re enjoying the blog and got some value from it then please, help me out by sharing it with someone.

Tweet it, post it, snap it, text it, write it down and send it by carrier pigeon… anything.

You can post links to my stuff in forums, on your blog, on your social media.

It’ll only take 30 seconds of your day and it’ll make mine.

 

Thanks for taking part in the Travel Blogging Experiment.

Matt